This past Friday, a small group of TCK students, Shlomi Edelshtein, and I went to express our condolences to the members of the Ahmadiyya community, located nearby in Maple, ON, who were mourning the loss of the six murdered victims in the Quebec City massacre.
One of the students who attended, Daniel Minden, wrote a reaction to the tragic events and published it on Times of Israel. “Whatever our differences,” he writes, “we must always remember the imperative of standing together against religious hatred. Judaism teaches compassion, respect, and understanding. Needless to say, Jews have seen and endured too much not to stand with others in their time of need.”
I bring to your attention the entirety of his moving post: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/standing-together-in-face-of-hatred/
As well, I share with you a copy of the letter that I sent in advance of our visit to the members of the Ahmadiyya mosque this past Friday.
I want to express our condolences to you on the tragic deaths of members of the Islamic community in Quebec City. This past Monday, in the school that I lead, we stood for a moment of silence and in solidarity with the victims of this horrific crime. We recognized that this act of terror was a desecration of human life, an attack on religious freedom, and a violation of sacred space.
Our tradition teaches that all people are created in the image of God with infinite value. Our Torah begins not with the first Jew, Abraham, but with the first human being, Adam. Regardless of religious background, political party, or skin colour, a life is a life. In both Islamic and Jewish tradition, we believe that to destroy one life is to destroy a whole world. This past week, the worlds of each one of the victims was irreparably shattered.
We are saddened by these events and extend our sympathies to the family members and friends of those who perished. We wish a “refuah sheleimah,” a speedy recovery to those who were “only” injured. Our thoughts are with you and your community.
As Jews and Canadians, we will continue to remember, cherish, affirm, and preserve what is right and true and worth fighting for: the sanctity of human life, human dignity, freedom, religious expression, and equality. We will continue to pray that we will see a day when all people can live together in peace and harmony.
Rabbi Lee Buckman