So it turns out that the 73 year-old white supremacist who fired shots yesterday in the parking lots of Kansas City’s beloved Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom didn’t manage to kill any Jews at all. Which, presumably, is what he intended to do.
A thoughtful and wise Jewish Kansas Citian, David Horesh, posted this on his FB page:
“When tragedy befalls us, it befalls us all regardless of race or religion.
According to the Midrash, God chided the angels for cheering when the Egyptians were drowned in the Sea of Reeds. ‘How dare you rejoice when any of My children suffer.’
We are all God's children, bound together by Grace. When will we realize our eternal connection? When will we stop bickering like infants - lashing out and inflicting pain so unnecessarily?
May Mercy and Grace comfort and nurture all God's children.”
The Methodist grandfather and grandson who were killed were on their way to auditions for a singing competition. The third victim, a Catholic occupational therapist, was simply arriving for a Sunday visit with her mom, a resident at the assisted-living complex.
The doors at the Jewish Community Center are shattered today. So are hearts all across this city. These two institutions combined make up the heartbeat of our Jewish “neighborhood.”
Of course, the doors will be repaired. And once again they will swing open for Jews and non-Jews alike as they bring their kids to daycare, attend theatre, go to school, visit the art gallery, call on a grandparent, eat in the café, work out, swim or just gather with friends.
What is your reaction when horrific things like this happen? Have you ever stopped to think about how you process this kind of hatred and violence? After all, we have to deal with it on some level and find a place to put our feelings so that we can move on. So we can take the next step forward. So we can fix the doors and put a swimsuit on our four-year-old for her next swim lesson. So we can continue living.
I remember the morning of 9-11. As I sat at my computer watching the first tower burn, when things were confusing and undefined, and I had no idea what was happening yet or what was to come, I called my father. He doesn’t live in New York, but I needed to know he was OK. Then I asked him: should I pick up Max from school? My first feeling was: I need to round up my family.
Then, later that day, I had to retreat. Shut down. Crawl into bed, pull the covers up over my head.
Do you know what the mother of the 14-year old singer and daughter of the boy’s grandfather did a few hours after the shooting yesterday? On the worst possible day of her life?
She showed up at the interfaith prayer service that had been hastily arranged. Dressed in a red Oklahoma hoodie, Mindy Corporon made her way to the podium and calmly addressed the crowd. She ended with this:
“We were having life, and I want you to know that we are going to have more life.”
She - without anger, without fear, without hatred, without hysterics - gently suggested how we might all find our way and move on. She - without pointing a finger or naming a name - sent a message to a hate-spewing murderer that he has no place here. That life will be lived.
Perhaps she is the Grace who will comfort and nurture the rest of us.