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Tragedy and Healing in Brussels

Tragedy and Healing in Brussels

We were all deeply shocked and saddened to wake up to the news of the deadly attack in Belgium on Tuesday morning. In response, the World Union for Progressive Judaism issued a statement expressing support for the Jewish community in Brussels and highlighting, “in the spirit of Purim, as Esther and Mordecai stood up to the hatred by Haman, our thoughts turn to the safety and security of Reform Jewish communities, schools and members living across and near the city.”  

Three explosions in Brussels, two at the airport and one at the Maelbeek subway station, killed 31 people and injured another 230. This attack followed the arrest last Friday of the main surviving suspect of the tragic Paris attacks in November 2015. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the terror attacks, but Belgium authorities are still investigating potential suspects. Our thoughts are prayers are with the family and friends of those lost and injured, and all those impacted by this tragic attack.

As the third major attack in Europe in just over a year, this tragedy reminds us that we must stand up against hate. We are taught in the book of Micah, “They shall sit each of them under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid” (Micah, 4:4). We must live by these teachings and not allow such tragedies to instill fear in our community, but rather inspire us to unite and provide strength and support to those facing this terror. Let us be inspired by the actions of Esther and Mordecai this Purim, and join together as a Jewish community and stand up against all hate and pray that those who organized and support such acts of terror face justice and those impacted by find peace.

Leadership of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and the European Union for Progressive Judaism (EUPJ) wrote to the Jewish community in Brussels, “As Jews and citizens of the world, we stand with you, our brother and sisters in Belgium.” Additionally, Rabbi David Wirtschafter of Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, KY shared this prayer for the people of Brussels

Rachel Landman is the assistant director of 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy in Byfield, MA, where she ran the inaugural summer Israel program, which focused on exploring Israel through the lens of science and technology. She holds a degree in biology from Hamilton College and served as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. She is an alumna of URJ Crane Lake Camp and grew up at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue in Brooklyn, NY. 

Rachel Landman

Published: 3/24/2016