The Agudas Achim and Ezrath Jewish congregations combined in 2003 to form Congregation Agudas Achim - Ezrath Israel. Temple Agudas Achim-Ezrath Israel also offers programs for men and women and holds Shabbat geared towards children and families.
This Sunday night I attended a large gathering at Temple Mishkan Tefila to show support for the people of lsrael in this troubling time of incitement and terror. Organized by GJP, JCRC, the Gonsulate of lsrael and other local Jewish organizations, it was a time to express our solidarity with lsrael and to reaffirm our resolve not to let the darkness of hatred obscure the light of hope in lsrael or anywhere in the world.
At this moving assembly, we heard from Micah Lakin, son of the late Richard Lakin, who was stabbed in a Jerusalem bus on his way home from a doctor's appointment. Micah's father was one of those inspiriting individuals who sought to build bridges, to raise up hope, to share a vision of peace and reconciliation with others. He had devoted his life to education. Originally from Newton, he made Aliyah and raised his family in lsrael. He was the examplar of a dedicated educator. His 2007 book, the distillation of a lifetime of teaching was entitled "Teaching as an Act of Love: Thoughts and Reflections of a Former Teacher, Principal and Kid." How devastating that he was felled by knives soaked in hatred.
As Lakin's life was lauded, his murder lamented, Representative Joseph Kennedy lll called on us not to allow ourcelves to give up hope of a better world. He also spoke of the strength of the lsrael - US relationship, one based on common values and ideals. Representative Seth Moulton also raised similar themes as he expressed his strong support for lsrael and its people, as well as our local Jewish community in this trying time. ln a powerfut statement, Micah Lakin lamented that his children would never get to know their grandfather. What a terrible loss to them and to all of us.
As our visionary leader, Barry Shrage wrote: "This random violence breeds fear that destroys trust, that incubates hatred and that has the potential to turn neighbor against neighbor and destroy the fabric of community and the structure of civil society. The destruction of lsrael's civil society is exactly what those who incite this violence desire. lt won't succeed, but its impact is still devasfating...Each life lost in this senseless conflict diminishes us all"
At our gathering the other day one word kept being repeated: "tncitement," The so-called moderate leaders of the Palestinian people continue to inflame passions with lies and the lionization of terrorists. Hamas and their ilk resort to all means at their disposal to spread hatred and calumnies about lsraelis and Jews. One of their favorite tools is to use the internet -social media such as Facebook and Twitter and Youtube to disseminate their message of violence. How ironic that just a day before his death, Richard Lakin was named by his children as the lead plaintifr in a lawsuit filed bv Shurat HaDin-lsrael Law Center against Facebook on behalf of 20,000 Israelis. The suit - filed Monday in New York state court- alleges that Facebook is intentionally disregarding incitement against Jews posted by Palestinians on the social-networking site. After Lakin's death, terrorist supporters put out on Youtube a "reenactment" of Lakin's murder on the Jerusalem Bus, celebrating the terrorists'auccess and encouraging others to follow their lead. Sometimes we may feel powerless in the face of the evil around us. But we must not give in to despair or throw up our hands in defeat. Like Richard Lakin we can make a difference. Our leades from GJP and JCRC encourage us to take action - including onJine. We can urge sites like Youtube to remove hate speech and invitations to kill and maim innocent people from the internet. We can learn how to report violations of the policies on hate speech on Twitter, and Facebook. We can use all legal means to shine a light on the dark corners of the world - electronic or physical - where evil flourishes. We can tell our brothers and sisters in lsrael that we are with them in this time of trial.
Rabbi David Kudan
P.S. For those who like to take action I encourage you to contact your members of Gongress, and to learn how to fight back online by going to http://www.cjp.org/our-work/israel-overseas/israel-advocacy.
Holiday services will be conducted by Rabbi David Kudan, accompanied by Sexton Wayne Freedman and Cantorial Soloist Phyllis Werlin, as well as lay leaders of the Congregation. Click Services for further information on our regular services and our special holiday services. Cancellations will be announced on channels 4, 5 and 7.
Agudas Achim - Ezrath Israel 245 Bryant Street Malden, MA 02148