Beyond prayer, we must take action on gun violence


We are in anguish in the aftermath of another mass shooting – this one in our own backyard. To our community members who live, work or have family in San Bernardino, we stand with you in sorrow, grieving for the souls of the victims and praying for healing for those wounded.

At the same time, we are aware of the gross insufficiency of the now ubiquitous expressions of grief, calls for prayer and sterile condemnations. Prayer devoid of moral action is idolatry. Our failure, as a society, to take action to address the scourge of gun violence is a desecration of all that we hold holy. 

Many of us have been in this fight for decades – mobilizing, rallying, protesting, lobbying. Now, some are despairing. Today we have to make a choice: will we continue to fight the insanity that has gripped this nation – will we get smarter, stronger, better resourced – or will we turn our lives and our country over to a deadly distortion of our Constitution and its promise of freedom? 

Our community will fight. Our weapons are love and justice. Our fuel is the belief that all human beings are created in God’s image and deserve to live with dignity, in peace. Our fellow soldiers – our partners – are good people of all faiths and no faith who see that the toxic combination of hatred and easy access to weapons of war endangers all of us and threatens the very foundation of this nation. Make no mistake: we will win. The only question is how many more innocents will die before that day comes.

While the facts of yesterday’s massacre are still coming to light, it appears that the shooters were Muslim-American. It is incumbent upon us that we resist the rising tide of small minded bigotry that characterizes all Muslims by the behavior of the few, just as we resist when others do the same to us, as Jews.

Let us stand together. That is the only way we will effect change. Visit www.everytown.org to take immediate national action on gun violence prevention, and stay tuned to IKAR for local coalitional organizing. If you are able to take a leadership role, please let us know asap.

L’shalom –

Rabbi Sharon Brous


Rabbi Sharon Brous is the the founding rabbi of IKAR, a spiritual community in Los Angeles.

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