Today was supposed to be a special day. It was Patriot's Day...aka Marathon Monday, the Boston-created holiday that pays tribute to our history and our community. Many of us were doing what the majority of Bostonians were doing: enjoying our day off from work/school and spending time with family and friends. After taking in the sights for a few hours, I made my way home and turned on the television to watch the rest of the race while planning to catch-up on some things around the apartment. And then the texts started coming in...
"Are you ok?"
"What's going on?"
"We're watching the news...what is happening?"
"Tell me you're at home and not in the city."
I didn't want to sit glued to social media and my television following the updates that were streaming in all afternoon. I didn't want to call and text my friends and family to make sure they were okay. And after trying to digest everything for the past few hours while we coordinated communication efforts for our temple community, I certainly didn't want to turn the computer on to write this. I wanted to jump in the car, drive back to Boston, and help. I felt both helpless and hopeful all at the same time. I wanted to go donate blood, help direct traffic and lend a hand where I could.
From our local authorities: stay away. We're getting the situation under control and working with many partners to ensure the safety of everyone involved and at home.
From the Red Cross: blood banks are currently full, thanks to the immediate support of runners and people in the area.
Check back to donate in the future.
Our world is so fractured. I immediately started to think out loud, "this is Boston. This is home. How could this happen here?" I then thought back to the last blog post I wrote, unfortunately of similar nature. And while I have immense difficulty coming to terms with why something so bad would happen on a day that is supposed to be so good, I have hope. Inspiring does not even begin to describe the concept of athletes finishing a marathon running through the finish line directly to donate blood for those neighbors in need. Our first responders rocked it, quickly helping to create order and bring support in a very tough situation. "Boston is a tough, resilient and proud town." Yes, President Obama, we are. But we also are extremely lucky to have received the out-pour of love and support within minutes of this tragic event from our friends and family around the country and world. And for all of this to happen on Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut...as we remember, honor and celebrate our brothers and sisters in Israel, who know this type of situation all too well. And to the point that the American media make reference to their training on how to handle such situations. Wow.
So after the initial shock, after the emails, after the texts and phone calls, and after taking some time to simply sit and think, I created this for our community:
A prayer, a request, a hope. If you're in the area and available on Tuesday evening, please join us at Temple Beth Elohim. Let's come together and bring some light into the darkness. I know how thankful I am for the love I receive from my friends and family, for being part of our TBE community and the amazing greater Boston Jewish community, and for the overwhelming support and outreach that we've received from family and friends from all over. As we think about those who are in need of support during this difficult time, let's talk to our children about what's going on. If you or someone you know needs support during this difficult time, please contact a member of our TBE Clergy Team. And let's pray a little louder. Hug a little tighter. And hope for peace.
Join the conversation! To stay connected with our TBE community:
Speaking to Children: Coping with Tragedy (links from the TBE Youth website)
RJ Blog: What Israeli Resilience Can Teach Us After Boston Marathon Explosions
CJP/JCRC Joint Statement of Sympathy
A Prayer from Rabbi Joe Black