When I made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) six and a half years ago from Tucson, the streets here in Israel were full of violence. I witnessed a bus bombing less than 50 meters from the bus I was sitting on. As I sit at my desk in Jerusalem today (Jan. 9), I struggle to wrap my head around the events in Tucson yesterday. This is something that you would read about here in the Middle East, but in Tucson, Arizona?
As a native Tucsonan, my heart weeps and I knew there was only one thing to do. I got on a bus and went to the Kotel (Western Wall). I don’t see myself as a religious man, but I felt myself drawn to the powers of prayer. I found the very last minyan (quorum of 10 men necessary for Jewish prayer). As we were davening (praying), the clouds were forming overhead. When we reached the prayer for healing, a ray of sunshine broke through the clouds and warmed my entire body. I knew my prayers for Gabby and the others injured were being heard. As we continued the clouds returned. I had never met Gabriel Zimmerman, but as we reached the Mourners Kaddish (Prayer of the Mourners), I was compiled to recite the prayer out loud for Gabe and the other departed. As I davened, it began to drizzle and I could not help but think these were the tears of sorrow from my hometown.
One might think it was just a coincidence, but I know it is much more! While I was davening, I felt Hashem (G-d) with me. I was able to feel the burden of Tucson’s pain lifting from my shoulders. I know the prayer of one man can not heal the tragic events that took place, but it is a start. I know as a community Tucson is strong and the prayers of every Tucsonan were with me as I stood in the shadows of the walls of the Temple.
As we look for answers, I hope every single Tucsonan, Arizonan, American, citizen of the world can see what truly is the problem. Now is not the time to put blame on any political party or politician. From the echoes of gunshots in Tucson, to the fighting between Israel and our Arab neighbors, from the Koreans’ dilemma, to the problems in Sudan, it is clear to me hatred is prevalent in the world. It is time for us as a global community to open our hearts to peace and love and set aside our hatred for one another. Then and only then will we see the light of hope and peace.
My prayers are with you Tucson. May the lives that were lost yesterday not be in vain. I wish a speedy recovery to Congresswomen Giffords and all that were injured in this senseless shooting, and to the families of those who lost loved ones, may their memories be a blessing to you.
-Aaron Greenberg, Modiin, Israel