Beth Am Israel,

I am, like many of you, reeling from a weekend of unspeakable horror. A part of our collective feelings of safety and acceptance will almost assuredly never return. I am woozy from the thoughts of how we will move forward, what this all means, and on and on.

And into that darkness, light.

Last night at Beth Am Israel, in front of nearly 250 of our members and members of many faiths-Christians, Muslims, and many non-believers I am sure as well, a most amazing act of faith, love, and compassion took place. At the center of our vigil for those whose lives were taken by a murderous, evil-filled man, a beam of light emanated from the very center of our Sanctuary. It was initiated by the Pastor at Gladwyne Presbetarian, Todd Stavrakos. But what he began as a single act of reaching out to our community, spread rapidly into an otherworldly act of divine love and inspired fellowship.

I have never witnessed anything like it before in my life, and judging by the flow of tears from every corner of our Sanctuary, no one else had either. This is the video of that moment. It runs about 9 minutes long so give yourself the time and space to experience it. If you feel moved to share it, share it.

I am committing to doing everything I can – including right now and in the lead up to Nov 6 and far beyond – to act towards elevating those who seek unity over division, who do not peddle in conspiracy and lies and who wish to raise up to find our better selves rather than divide us and play on our basest fears.

And finally, I am committing to working towards a world where we never need vigils like this to bring our community together.

-Hazzan Harold