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Rabbi Ben Greenberg

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A Minute of Silence for the Sacredness of Life

Posted: 07/24/2012 10:00 am

This past Friday Coloradans throughout our state and the rest of the nation woke up to the horrific news of a murder spree at the Century Movie Theater in Aurora. As a recent transplant from Cambridge, Mass., and the new rabbi of Denver's largest Modern Orthodox synagogue, BMH-BJ Congregation, I was tremendously shaken.

It had already been a hard and painful week for people of conscience throughout the world upon the news of the terrorist attack on a bus of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, which had claimed the lives of five young men and women and their tour bus driver. The deep ache of our collective souls only took another deep sigh as we learned the names and identities of the 12 precious individuals who lost their lives simply because they were enjoying a night out at the movies, including the loss of a 6-year-old child.

How do we possibly respond? What is there to do in the face of so much loss and devastation? The life of every individual is ultimately bound up and intertwined in the lives of every other individual and when my neighbor, whether down the street or across the globe, suffers and is in pain then we are suffering and all in pain. It is moments like these that demand that we stand up and affirm the uncompromising and unyielding sacredness of all life. We must not let our lives go unaffected by what happens around us; we must rise and declare that we care.

The 2012 Summer Olympics are set to begin this Friday in London. These games will be the 40th anniversary of the brutal massacre of 11 Olympians at the Munich Olympics in 1972. The image of the masked individuals butchering athletes at the prime of their lives will forever be ingrained in the collective memory of humanity.

There has been an internationally backed request to observe a minute of silence at the start of the Olympics in their memory. This request has been affirmed by President Obama, the United States Senate and several other world governments. The Olympic Committee has denied this request.

Let us be clear: To do anything less than unequivocally stand up against terrorism, in all the forms it takes, is to do none other condone that violence. The murderers, terrorists and evildoers of this world will only find strength and encouragement when the global community refuses to honor the memory of those who lives were taken and stand for justice and peace.

This Sunday (July 29) our congregation along with the leaders and members of faith communities throughout the metropolitan area will gather in front of our building at 1 p.m. to observe a minute of silence. We will be silent and lift up our thoughts and prayers for the lives of all who are so brutally and viciously taken from us. Our silence will speak louder than words that we, people of faith and conscience, will never be desensitized and insensitive to the loss of life and the devaluing of a fellow human being. The Olympic Committee may refuse to acknowledge the responsibility they owe to the international community to create a minute of worldwide affirmation of the sacredness of life but that will not stop us. I invite all people who wish to be counted amongst those who stand up and say "I care" and I will not let murder, terrorism and brutality, be it in Munich, Bulgaria or Aurora, pass by unnoticed to join us. Let us, together, affirm the shared destiny of all of humanity and the value of each and every human life.

 
 
 

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