By Rabbi Rick Sherwin

I have a number of friends who own and/or carry guns. Even as we respectfully debate the relationship between guns and violence, we all agree that semi-automatic and assault weapons must be regulated, if not eliminated from the public domain.

With spiritual hugs of condolence to the families of 17 High School students in Parkland, Florida, we stand by them with the commitment to care, not to simply return to our lives after we offer thoughts and prayers…

I was very moved by the words of Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism:

“I can imagine the Holy One sobbing along with us, distraught over the senseless bloodshed we’ve collectively allowed to happen. Human care for one another, [reflecting the Compassionate Image of God,] is what is desperately needed right now. What’s also needed is action. While every person of conscience must be shocked and outraged by the frequency of these horrific mass shootings, no person of intelligence can be surprised.”

After the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, NV, the deadliest in modern American history, Daryl Messinger wrote:

“Each time, the country goes back to business as usual. As the body count grows, with new scenes of senseless slaughter, nothing changes. Thoughts, prayer, and words are appropriate – but they’re not sufficient.”

…Our task remains: to challenge America’s conscience and to heed the biblical injunction that we must not stand idly by the blood of our neighbor.


Rabbi Rick Sherwin, a graduate of UCLA, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Rabbi Rick’s passion is filling spiritual services and interfaith educational programs with creativity, relevance, dialogue, and humor.


  1. Sad but true, only way we can stop this madness is by turning back to God and returning him to the schools and our homes, in our everyday life.

  2. Dear Rabbi Rick, The Stanford Law and Policy Review states that prior to 1989 the term assault weapon did not exist in te lexicon of firearms. It further states that the term is political, developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the catagory of assault rifles.
    An assault rifle is a fully automatic rifle, think machine gun, almost exclusively military issue. These are already highly restricted and civilian sales have been banned for many years. I repeat, assault rifles are ALREADY BANNED!
    A semi automatic fires one round each time the trigger is pulled. This means that an semi automatic rifle, the shotgun a duck hunter uses, indeed the pistols your friends may own and/or carry all function in exactly the same manner!
    Things like bump stocks and conversion kits should be banned because I do not believe there is a rational excuse for them. A large part of the hysteria belongs to the manufacturer of certain rifles who seem to go out of the way to make their rifles resemble military weapons and the average person does not know the difference. These look alikes can only appeal to wannabes and other make believe soldiers.
    By itself, these guns never killed anyone, they all required someone to operate it. By itself it would just stay in the corner or wherever. So every time there is an act of horror, people confuse the symptom with the disease. Should we ban cars because some people drink and drive causing death and injury? Should knives and forks be banned because obesity is a major health problem costing millions of dollars? Why not treat the person responsible? In almost every shooting the person is described as seeking help, exhibiting anti-social behaviors or expressing a desire to do harm to others. These indicators ate all ignored until something boils over and an atrocity is committed. We need to treat the root cause and not thr symptom! Where would we be if guns are banned and the sick individual learns to make a bomb or drive a truck into a crowd? How will their bodyguards protect the anti-gun politician without a gun? I agree that it is a madness in our culture, I just want to solve it,not cover it up!

  3. Kudos to you Richard! You are absolutely right on all points. Our country is already in deep enough trouble without making it easy for those that would make us weaker. I am in my eighties, owned guns all my life, and I have never once heard a gun whimpering in my closet, “I want to go out and shoot someone!” The only person that need fear getting shot by me is that nutcase determined to do me or mine harm. The scriptures tell us that the man that does not care for his family is worse than an infidel, and part of that is defending the helpless. In my long life I have never met anyone that I wanted to see dead. Several years ago I was awarded the good citizenship award by the Orlando Police dept. for coming to the rescue of an Orlando police officer in a struggle with a violent suspect. I am not a violent man but sometimes violence must be met by violence in order to protect the innocent. When the above mentioned incident occurred there were about twenty good citizens standing by and rubbernecking, not one of them made a move to assist the officer. Chaz


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