By Rabbi Rick Sherwin

Again, and again, and again… Every statement following yesterday’s atrocity in Pittsburgh begins with “we are appalled,”or” we condemn,” or “we are outraged…”

Speaking personally, I am outraged by such comprehensive statements as “If only there had been an armed guard welcoming worshippers,” or “if only more people had guns with them during the worship service,” or other such shallow insights that might eliminate the problem. There will always be demented human beings who ignore the value of human life, but more guns do not seem to be the answer…

I am reposting my thoughts that followed last year’s wanton mass murder in Las Vegas, with Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life now in mind. I speak not just as a Jew, not just as one who remembers Pulse in Orlando, not just as an American, but as a human being charged to live up to the Divine Image in which we are all created.

Columbine High School
Virginia Tech
Sandy Hook Elementary
Fort Hood
Umpqua Community College
San Bernardino
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church
Las Vegas
To name just a few

After each one comes
Thoughts and prayers
Expressions of sympathy
Prayers for consolation
Heightened security at
Military Bases
Churches, Mosques, Synagogues
Night Clubs
Maybe now hotel check in!

What about the real problem?
Not controlling guns
But outlawing assault weapons
Not allowing silencers
But speaking up and speaking out
Not second amendment rights
But the responsibility for life
Not more mental health checks
But more sane laws
The real problem is addressing
In a completely direct way
Devastation and anguish
Loss of hope and loss of life.

We have delayed the conversation
We have delayed the action
We have delayed protecting
Children and Adults
Going to School
Attending a Concert

The Prophet Isaiah:
“They have eyes but will not see
They have ears but will not hear”
Wake up now
Before more parents mourn children
Before more children are orphaned
Before more young love is lost.

The Sage Hillel
2,000 years ago:

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. I believe if we had more 10 commandments in plain sight and people realized a God of love gave them to us to live our lives by we might actually have more peace and safety! Oh, yes and then there is the golden rule, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!
    Blessings oon you and yours


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