We mourn the tragic deaths of 49 members of the LGBT community in Orlando, pray for the healing of the wounded, and extend comfort to family members, friends and their extended community.
We condemn all acts of terror and all statements and actions designed to terrorize, and we are especially horrified at an act of hate directed at particular segments of the American population.
The mass shooting took place while Jews around the world were observing the holiday of Shavuot, where we celebrate receiving the Torah. Deuteronomy 30:19 teaches "I have set before you today life and death, the blessing and the curse...Choose life, so that you and your children may live." We live in a period of increasing extremism. We must continually choose life over and over. A rejection of hate and an embrace of diversity and difference is at the heart of every vibrant community. Inclusive stances nurture creativity and interconnection and create a safer world for all of us.
We urge Congress and the US President to take up common-sense and measured gun legislation. While recognizing the right of Americans to own arms for the purposes of personal security and licensed sportsmanship, it has become clear that assault weapons like the one used in this and several other mass shootings serve no purpose other than to kill or injure as many people as possible. A ban on assault weapons is a common-sense measure that will prevent further attacks and help us overcome the terror of this day.
Let us choose to foster light and love, connection and community, justice and peace. Let us nurture blessings and in this way choose life, for us and for our descendants.
Chair, Board of Governors
Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D.
Rabbi Nina Mandel
President: Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Rabbi Elyse Wechterman
Executive Director: Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association