Three Lives Taken Too Soon

I wrote this after the JCC/Village Shalom shootings. It has been really hard for me to push “publish” for whatever reason. I have learned that the best therapy for me is to write and so here goes……

Two beautiful souls were buried today….two souls who were taken away from this earth way too early. A grandfather, who moved to Kansas City to be closer to his grandchildren. And his grandson, 14 years old, an eagle scout and incredible singer. And a few days ago a loving women who was shot while visiting her mother at Village Shalom was laid to rest. Words can’t describe the sadness and heaviness in my heart from this….3 lives that were taken away and for what reason?!?!

The thing that most people might not understand about our JCC and Village Shalom here in Kansas City, is that almost every Jew in this town (regardless of affiliation) are in these buildings on a frequent basis. And on top of that, a huge amount of the JCC members are not even Jewish. A day care center,  Jewish Day School (K-12), theatre, gym, swimming pools etc. are all located at the JCC. This place is the heart of Jewish life in Kansas City. Anyone of us, our kids, our, family, our friends could have been there, and several of my friends (both Jewish and not) were there on that horrible Sunday afternoon.

Yesterday I drove to the JCC for the Interfaith Unity and Hope Ceremony. The minute I turned and saw the entrance of the JCC my heart dropped….as I was quickly faced with traffic, cop cars all around it sure felt like life is now different around here. As I went to park in the Sprint parking lot (because of the amount of people there I had to go to over-flow parking) a cop stopped each person to ask “Are you here for the ceremony?”. He looked at me, inside of my car and I knew that wasn’t just a “greeting” but a security check. I can truly say this ceremony was so powerful! Being surrounded by so many different people of various ethnicitices, races and religions all together to stand as one against evil and hatred. One of the most beautiful moments was when all the clergy from Kansas City went to the stage to light candles in memory of those who were killed. As they and all of us in the audience put our arms around each other, swayed side to side, singing, “Oseh Shalom” (Song of Peace).The most amazing thing seems to happen when tragedy hits, people just come together and love just emulates, shinning light over the darkness.

Going to the  “Wall of Support” at the funeral today, being around hundreds of people who are gathered to hold signs and show their love and support as mourners entered the church to attend the funerals was an incredible experience. Many cars drove by us and honked as they shouted “thank you”, many of them with tears in their eyes.

Tragedy shouldn’t have to happen to bring out the best in people, but somehow it does and we can only learn from the importance of “loving your neighbor as yourself” and cherish our love ones everyday. May G-d bless, protect and keep us safe from the evils in the world.

Thank you for letting me process!

Community Service of Unity and Hope at the JCC: