Shabbat in the wake of tragedy

Shabbat is coming: that time of sweetness, that “taste of the world to come,” when tradition teaches each of us is enlivened by an extra Shabbat soul.

During the week now ending, the sanctity and safety of a historic African American church in Charleston, SC was shattered by an act of hatred. A white gunman took advantage of their hospitality and welcome, spent an hour purporting to join them in prayer, and then killed nine members of that church, leaving the tenth alive to tell the tale.

Our world desperately needs Shabbat peace this week.

Our hearts are with the community of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston. We grieve their losses. May the One Who makes peace in the highest heavens bring balm and comfort to their hearts.

The name of their church, Emmanuel, means in Hebrew “God With Us.” May God be with them in their grief. And may God be with us as we drink deeply of the well of Shabbat replenishment and renewal, and then enter the new week rededicated to the task of building a world redeemed.

— Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat is co-chair of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.