Congregation Beth Israel Clergy Statement on the Terror Shooting in Orlando – June 2016


They cry ‘Peace, Peace!’ But there is no peace.” – Jeremiah 6:14

The clergy of Congregation Beth Israel are devastated at the news of what is being called the deadliest act of domestic terrorism since 9/11 – and the deadliest mass shooting in US history. The horrific violence that was unleashed at the Pulse Club in Orlando, FL is also the deadliest attack aimed at the LGBTQ community.

We pray for the victims and their families – pray for all those injured, and pray for our nation once again facing senseless violence, fueled by bigotry and hatred. Early reports show that the perpetrator claimed allegiance to ISIS. We pray that the hateful ideology, which promotes mindless violence and is rejected by most of the world’s Muslims, will be uprooted from this world.

But we will not give in to fear or terror. We will not rejoin bigotry with bigotry. As President Obama said:

“In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united as Americans to protect our people and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.”

We also join with the President in calling for common sense protection from gun violence.

“This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school or a house of worship or a movie theater or a nightclub,” Mr. Obama said. “We have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. To actively do nothing is a decision as well.”

We stand with the LGBTQ community today and in the future, knowing that to threaten any part of us is to threaten us all.

Congregation Beth Israel joined together for Pride Shabbat on Friday, June 17, at 6pm and welcomed our guest speaker and congregant, Professor Alison Gash. And on Sunday, June 19, we marched in Portland’s Pride Parade. We held each other closely and let everyone know we will not allow hatred and terror to drive us apart.

We will continue to cry “Peace, Peace!” Until there is peace.

Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana, Senior Rabbi 
Cantor Ida Rae Cahana, Senior Cantor
Rabbi Rachel L. Joseph, Associate Rabbi

Cantor Cahana in the community on Holocaust Remembrance Day

CantorCahana HolocaustRemembranceOn May 5, Cantor Ida Rae Cahana and others convened in Pioneer Courthouse Square and took turns reading the names of Jews who died in the Holocaust for national Holocaust Remembrance Day. "Remembering the Holocaust is so important to the future," said Joanne Van Ness Menashe, CBI congregant and director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. "There are still people who deny that it existed. Reading the names helps remind people that it was real."  (photo courtesy of Lisa Stiller)

Read about the event here.

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