Four hundred and sixty seven school shootings in American History. That is an incomplete list from Wikipedia.

It doesn’t include suicides or when only teachers were killed.

How many happen in other parts of the world?

How many times do we hear thoughts and prayers?

How many times have we seen any actual action to prevent future shootings?

When will enough be enough?

I was a student at Sandy Hook Elementary. The shooting there happened long after I left, but I can picture those hallways. I can see the students and the teachers.

I am grateful to live in the United States of America. We have rights and responsibilities that our friends around the world could only dream about. We have opportunities that are not available everywhere.

What has made this country incredible is how we have welcomed immigrants and ideas from around the world. We have assimilated people from everywhere, welcoming their ideas, their businesses and helping them live their dreams. Sometimes we have been more or less welcoming. Whether we are first or fourteenth generation in this country, we have something to offer and appreciate. I pray that we can look around the world and find solutions to gun violence! We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We don’t need a uniquely American idea, we just need a plan that can work here!

My prayer for my beloved country:

Ribono Shel Olam,

May we see a day when no child is threatened at school.

May they go and learn in peace.

May we see teachers and students growing in knowledge and not in fear.

May we never need to explain to our children what violent event happened in another school.

May weapons of mass destruction remain outside of school zones.

May students who need help be assisted and not shunned.

May we see this time of peace speedily in our days.

Working and celebrating together

This past Friday night we celebrated Aloha Shabbat together.

With the support of the Jewish Federation of Orange County, the Newburgh JCC organized a beautiful Shabbat dinner. Grilled chicken skewers, salads and more helped bring TBJ and CAI together. Beautiful music from Ross Levy inspired us all.

Rabbi Freedman reminded us what a blessing it is to work together. Too often we live in a society divided. Politics, religion and stubbornness push us apart. We forget our shared values-even among Am Yisrael-among the Jewish people.

Yet here in Newburgh, we find ways to work together. We celebrate our differences and even find time to pray together!

Across our denominational lines, we made beautiful music. We recognized the unity of the Holy One. We sang; we danced; we ate!

Thanks to the blessing of all coming together, finding a moment of unity in a seemingly discordant world. These are the moments that will help us build a peaceful future. When we can come together under one tent, we can find beauty and love.

The world really does change in a moment-and you are a part of it!