Dear Beth Shir Shalom Family,

Our hearts are broken, yet again. There are no words for the trauma our nation repeatedly endures: our children murdered in classrooms, our elderly gunned down in grocery stores, our worshippers killed in prayer. 

As my sadness ebbs and flows with my anger, I cannot muster more than a simple question: How? How did our nation become so indifferent to death? How have our politicians allowed this plague of gun violence to continue? How have we as an electorate not demanded change from our representatives? It does not have to be this way. For over two decades the Reform Movement has been calling for comprehensive legislation to prevent further gun violence. To allow this status quo to remain is to desecrate God and our religion and we will not stand for it.

As you process your grief and hold your people tight, know that I am here for you. If you’re in a prayerful mood, you can find the traditional Mourner’s Kaddish here or a God-Optional Kaddish that I wrote below. 

Sending you and your family love & strength in these trying times,
Rabbi Alex Kress

God-Optional Kaddish

may the divine sparks of Humanity
be magnified and sanctified
in our majestic World.
may Compassion & Empathy
reign in our Lives,
in our Every day,
and in the lives of the many houses of Humanity;

may our holiest Principles guide our world
towards an era overflowing with Blessing, Lovingkindness, and Respect;
in which we revere, raise up, exalt, honor, and praise our Diversity.

blessed is the Unifying Force
whose web of Life connects us all,
whose Blessings and Hymns, Praises, and Words of Comfort,
remind us that we are part of something much greater than ourselves.

may our lofty dreams for Peace
be realized through Us,
and through all our neighbors on this earth,
by affirming the sanctity of life.

may our human network be an endless Source of Peace,
and bestow all those in need with Comfort, Tranquility, and Hope.

as a Whole made up of infinitely different Parts, we say: amen.

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