In this week’s Torah portion, we read how two brothers, Jacob and Esau, fight over their father’s blessing and, in turn, tear apart their family. In response to the attack in Pittsburgh, one of my synagogue “kids,” Grant Besner, who grew up at Ramat Shalom and is now a senior at Duke, uses his bi-weekly column, “Dear Noah,” in the Duke Chronicle to bless his brother. In turn, he unites his Jewish family and his larger community with a call to love, act and make a difference.

After the shooting in Thousand Oaks yesterday, the 307th mass shooting this year, Grant’s words remind us of the dangers of indifference. Every week, there’s something else. Another act of violence, more hate. For some, it’s become the norm. For some, they’ve become desensitized. With desensitization comes indifference. If we want to stand up to hate, if we want to bring about an end to the violence, we must choose to act. Grant’s words to his brother, Noah: “you have the power and privilege to choose…I sincerely hope that you do not waste it,” are words we must all hear and respond to. And like Grant, I sincerely hope we will not waste our ability to choose – to find our own way to stand up to the hate and end the violence. Support the work of local and national organizations dedicated to these crucial issues. Become actively involved in one of these organizations. Engage with our local and national leaders. Learn about the issues and share what you learn with others. Do something. Don’t waste your ability to make a difference.

Please read Grant’s words here.


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