Photo description: Law enforcement officials investigate the hostage incident at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Tex. (Ralph Lauer/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Undoubtedly like many of you, we were saddened by the events this past weekend in Colleyville, Texas. Our hearts go out to those involved and to our Jewish friends locally here in Northern Virginia. The Washington Post had a good article summarizing the events of the weekend.
Two quotes from the article stood out to us. First was a powerful statement from Rabbi Charles Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Israel a week before this weekend’s crisis, which is very relevant post-crisis, even through the sadness:
“In that last sermon a week ago, Cytron-Walker recognized that some people now find it hard to summon hope. ‘What can we do?’ he asked. ‘The answer is — quite a lot! . . . In the midst of chaos and uncertainty, God asked the Israelites to face their fears and do something. . . . We are living in the midst of a different kind of chaos and uncertainty and it’s our turn to do something. . . . All we need to do is act.’”
The other quote from the article related to interfaith support and cooperation during the crisis, which is a model the members of Tysons Interfaith applaud and attempt to emulate.
“Two blocks in the other direction from Beth Israel, at Good Shepherd Catholic Community, Cheryl Drazin, a Dallas-based vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s regional division, and other local faith leaders set up their own command center, where representatives from the Israeli consulate in Houston and relatives of the hostages gathered. Drazin saw Catholic priests and Chabad rabbis, in their long beards and black suits, sitting in a waiting area comforting each other.
Bob Roberts, an evangelical pastor at Northwood Church in Keller, five miles from Beth Israel, was eating lunch with his wife at an Italian restaurant around noon when they started getting texts about the hostage situation. He called Muslim leaders and they gathered at Good Shepherd, where Roberts spent the afternoon with the Cytron-Walker’s wife and daughter.
‘We’re all people of faith,’ Roberts said. ‘We have disagreements. The reality is we believe in God. And so we prayed.’
At one point, the wife of Shahid Shafi, a prominent Muslim figure in the county and a former city council member in Southlake, came into the room. She and the rabbi’s wife embraced. ‘It was just profound,’ Roberts said. ‘I just remember thinking to myself: People could use this [situation] as a tool to do more antisemitic and Islamophobic-type things. But this is the reality. A Muslim and a Jewish lady, embracing. This is how it’s done.’”