My heart breaks. My spirit suffers. Yet another sleepless night. I am left wondering — yet again.

On the holiest of holy days in the Christian year, such a massacre in so many churches during Easter services! Easter services! A day of such joy becoming a day of such sadness.

First, on behalf of the High Country Jewish Community, let me extend my condolences to our Christian brothers and sisters, as you have done to us within the last year. For the intentional desecration of your Holiest Day and for those who died while practicing their Christian faith, our hearts breaks with yours. As we say in the Jewish tradition, “May their memories always be for a blessing. “

Next, we are available to listen. Your pain is also our pain.

Finally, to reflect upon the question: “How can we make their memories be for a blessing?” Acts of hate require acts of love help to stop the cycle. Let us act yet again, even if we are thousand of miles away. I am continuing to learn about the High Country and it being a unique spiritual center. We do feel the pain, “even if thousands of miles away.” Our brothers’ and sisters’ pain is our pain.

On Palm Sunday we made a clear statement coupled with action. Our statement: “Say No to Hate; Say Yes to Love; Love God; Love your Neighbor.” Throughout the week leading up to Passover and Easter throughout the High Country, our clergy, our faith leaders, our faithful, our neighbors, our friends, businesses, acted and were personally involved in a spring Blossoming of Love. Throughout the High Country the signs of love sprouted.

Let us keep the action going! Let us make yet another statement but more importantly, let us again ask those in the larger community to act — in love! Each time a person of faith acts in love, we do counter the act of hate!

May 2 is Yom HaShoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day. When hate ruled, when love was silent. Rather than say “Woe unto us, this is so much larger than us.” Let us say “We can continue to make a difference, here in our own small community.” Let us encourage those who turn to us for solace, for guidance, for support to do something tangible as a way of responding to the horror of Sunday’s Easter massacre.

Let us ask that by May 2, in front of every House of Worship in the High Country that a “Say No to Hate; Say Yes to Love; Love God; Love Your Neighbor” sign be visible. Let us ask that people place a sign in their front windows so that by May 2, this community makes it clear that there is no place for the kind of hate that kills hundreds in church on Easter Sunday, or in mosques during Jumah/Friday services, to synagogues during Shabbat morning services, or to any person of faith as they gather for worship!

I pray — do not give in to despair. I pray — give into hope.

What say ye?

With a broken heart, yet full of faith and hope.

Rabbi Stephen B. Roberts, MBA, BCC

Temple of the High Country, Boone

Tom Mayer is the executive editor of Mountain Times Publications, a group of five news newspapers, six websites and one monthly periodical in the High Country of North Carolina.

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