This is the speech Rabbi Starr gave during the Community Interfaith Vigil, Monday, October 29, 2018
In 2012, 6 people died at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin because they were Sikhs
In June 2015, 9 people died in Charleston South Carolina because they were African Americans
In June 2016, 49 people died in Orlando Florida because they were part of the LGBT community.
In August 2017, The Dar Al-Farooq Islamic center in Bloomington, Minnesota was bombed.
In Nov. 2017: 26 people died while worshipping at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas,
Last Wednesday, Two people died in Louisville Kentucky because they were African American.
And just 2 days ago, 11 people died in Pittsburgh, PA because they were Jews.
How many more need to die before we as human beings, as Americans, publically do something to stop the assault on marginalized people?
Often when we hear these reports, we are taken back by the sheer magnitude of the Hate crimes committed and the number of people that died. The victims of Hate crimes become numbers, statistics. When in fact, they are human beings, loved by someone, loving others. They had hobbies, pets, hopes and dreams. They were retired, in school or working.
The loved the fall leaves, and how the fireplaces crackle in the winter. We forget that human beings made in Gd’s image were gunned down before their time. It is for that reason tonight we are going to name each of the victims one by one. I will share something I read about them. Not because it is the most important thing but because it is my impossible task to bring human beings back to life.
In all of our traditions, there are many different ways we honor those who have died. In Judaism, we light yahrzeit candles. After I read each person’s name and something about them, I will invite a member of our faith communities to come up and light a candle in their memory. We will then have a moment of silence to remember each human being who died all too early.
We being by remembering Joyce Feinberg who prayed every day at the Tree of Life synagogue after her husband’s death. Ms. Fienberg was known for her warmth and generosity.
We remember Richard Gottfried, a loyal congregant and a dentist who would serve patients who did not have insurance or were underinsured,
We remember Rose Mallinger who was a steady anchor of the faith community that had changed over the years but persisted as a source of devotion, friendship and memory.
We remember Jerry Rabinowitz who was a doctor who would make house calls after a long day of seeing patients in his office
We remember David Rosenthal who spent a lot of time at the Jewish Community Center when he was not at the synagogue.
We remember Cecil Rosenthal, who greeted everyone who came to the synagogue with a “Good Shabbos” and a ready prayer book.
We remember Bernice Simon who was a retired nurse who always wanted to do right for others.
We remember Sylvan Simon liked to take walks around the neighborhood . He would wave and give a friendly hello.
We remember Daniel Stein who had recently become a grandfather. He was looking forward to playing with his grandchild.
We remember Melvin Wax who took on so many tasks — from leading services to changing light bulbs — that one friend described his role there as “everything but the cantor.”
We remember Irving Younger, a quiet man who loved to talk about his family and being Jewish.
Another way as Jews we remember people who have died is by learning, giving Tzedakah/donations of money to a non-profit in their name, and working to make the world a better place all in their name. We cannot bring those who died back to life. However, we can make sure their death was not in vein. May their memories and our lives be for a blessing.