Stop the Violence

Last night the Ferguson Grand Jury, after weighing all the pertinent evidence, decided not to charge Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.  Was justice served or was justice denied? I don’t know. But what I do know is that violence has become too epidemic in our society. Moments before Michael Brown was shot he had violently threatened the life of a local merchant. In response to being threatened by Michael Brown Officer Wilson used, what may be called, excessive force to protect himself. And in response to the Grand Jury’s decision violence again is manifesting itself in the rioting and looting which is taking place in the town of Ferguson. Violence begets violence and in the end “tzedek,” justice will never be achieved.

We are a nation divided. At a time like this African-Americans and White-Americans see society through totally different eyes. This variance of understanding creates more than just misunderstanding. It creates anger, distrust and alienation.

Where do we go from here? More understanding is needed. More talking is needed. More listening is needed. How strange that in a world in which social media dominates people are more estranged from one another than ever.  So many are talking however so few are listening.  As Jews we are well acquainted with being misunderstood, maligned or persecuted.  

I pray that calmer voices will be heard. I pray that violence will cease and a healing will begin. I pray that we will come to understand that the security of a nation is heavily dependent on the deference and respect we show to all of its citizens. Let the violence stop. Let the talking and listening begin. God may we be healed.

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