Hope and strength in the face of bad news

Dear members and friends,

As you may have heard, East Midwood recently received a hate-filled phone call. Please note: the caller did not claim to have placed a bomb in the building and the threat seems to have been vandalism-oriented, rather than violent. Ours was, therefore, different from most of the 100+ Jewish institutions to have received this kind of call in the last 2 months. Our staff was, of course, aware of the heightened frequency of these calls and were able to calmly alert the police and follow proper protocol.

I am available for whatever you need and I hope I can continue to add comfort and confidence in what is for many, I’m sure, a scary time. On a more practical level, the staff and I are working with police and Jewish communal resources (who’ve been getting, unfortunately, a lot of practice with this) to ensure the safety and security of our buildings and everywhere therein.

Our congregation is 93 years old and our building is 88 years old. Each has witnessed and withstood many changes in the world, in our country, and in the neighborhood. We will withstand this, too, and I know we will be vigilant and vocal witnesses. Thank God we only received a phone call, unlike the synagogues that have been vandalized or shot at and unlike the mosques that have been burned by arsonists. This is a difficult time for minority and diverse communities and for those whose safety is strengthened by them. It is a difficult time for houses of worship and for those whose faith is strengthened within them. But for these same reasons, our community and those like it, our house, and those like it, are more necessary now than ever. Let ours be a community that emboldens us in the face of threats, let ours be a faith that increases in the face of fear.

Rabbi Matt Carl