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Reacting to the Scourge of Terror

From Matthew C. Levin, Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County President & CEO

Nice, Istanbul, Orlando, Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino…. The list keeps growing with attacks in more and more cities and countries. When will it stop? When will good, freedom-loving people stop dying at the hands of terrorists?

Once again, our hearts break as the targets of terror increase and the death toll in Nice rises. Once again, we join with others across the civilized world in horror and outrage. Once again, we unite in grief and outrage with the families and country of innocent people murdered as they went about their daily lives.

Terror seems to be everywhere. This time it mowed down a crowd, attacking individuals as well as the cherished freedoms and justice of the democratic way of life they were celebrating on Bastille Day.

Just this past week, on a mission to Paris, the chairs of our board, our campaign and our women’s campaign, along with two of our professional colleagues, heard from Jewish victims of terror and leaders about the impact of the ongoing scourge of Islamic terrorism for their country and their lives in France.

As Jews, we are all too familiar with the threats of extremism, and the horrifying depths to which it can fall even in what had been civil societies.

As always, we ourselves remain vigilant. Security on our campus is our highest priority and receives the highest ratings, serving as a model for Jewish Federations throughout the country.

Tonight, as we welcome Shabbat, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France. Once again, we pray for the bereaved and injured, and all whose lives are shaken to the core with fear. Once again, we urge international efforts to ensure security and confront terrorism. As always, we stand ready to help those traumatized and those who seek a safer life elsewhere.

On this Shabbat, it is also time to reflect on our personal reactions to the continued news of terror attacks. We must be careful not to allow ourselves to become numb to this violence. We must cry for each life lost and be angry at each act of senseless violence against innocents – each act is an assault on our humanity and our cherished values in a war against our core beliefs of freedom, civility, pluralism, justice and equality.

Shabbat Shalom,

Matthew C. Levin
President & CEO