April 14, 2014 / 14 Nisan 5774
Statement by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Regarding the Shooting
At the Kansas City JCC and Village Shalom
As we prepare for the Passover holiday we are all shocked by the news of attacks on two Jewish communal institutions in Kansas yesterday afternoon.
We offer our prayers on behalf of those who have died and those who have been affected by trauma and loss.
We are especially horrified by the anti-Semitic attack in our country in the days leading up to both Easter and Passover. Ironically, though the gunman sought only to kill Jews, he killed fellow Christians as well. The shootings took place at hubs of activity in the Kansas City Jewish community - and within a mile of the homes of a USCJ international officer and staff member.
At the Seder, there's a notion that we split the middle matzah and hide it to recognize that completion, wholeness -- shelaymut -- is elusive. The world is in a shattered state, awaiting Tikkun, or redemption, which is symbolically enacted through the act of seeking the afikomen. Our active roles in this metaphysical game of hide and seek teaches us that we cannot be passive bystanders while the broken world awaits fixing.
As violence invades this holiday season marked by amity, sharing, gratitude, hospitality, and togetherness, we must respond in an active, not passive manner, and renew our commitment to Tikkun Olam, the repair of the world.
Tonight and tomorrow night, as we split the middle matza during the "yachatz" portion of the Seder, may we keep the victims of hate crimes in our minds. May we recommit to being God's partners in the repair of our shattered world.
As the incident in Kansas City demonstrated, we must also be vigilant about safety, especially around the holidays. In this regard, the USCJ continues to support its member kehillot in making sure that our institutions are safe. We are in regular communication with government and Jewish communal agencies that monitor threats and offer security guidance. Please visit our website
to learn more about safety protocols.
As we begin the Festival of Freedom tonight, may we be mindful of the brokenness of the world in which we live. May our prayers for growing peace and safety be heard. May we build relationships of meaning at our Seder; may we reflect on our precious freedom and commit to liberating those who are still enslaved.
With wishes for a happy, healthy and safe holiday season,
Rabbi Steven C. Wernick, CEO
Richard Skolnik, International President