Tree of Life

Photo Credit: Associated Press / Gene J. Puskar

Friends,

Last Saturday, our country was rocked by more senseless gun violence. On Saturday morning, a congregation of my fellow Jewish people gathered to pray on our Sabbath. This day was even more special because a baby was going to be named. A tradition that we did with my own daughter. And just like that, thanks to the new normal of hate and violence in our country, all of it ended with 11 innocent lives lost and a community devastated.
 

This is not OK. This is not the America I love. This is not the America I want my children to see. I hate that my children have to walk into our synagogue and see an armed guard at the door. I hate that even for a split second the thought of staying home is the safest course of action.
 

It takes a day like last Saturday for all of us to recognize our world has changed. Our country has changed. However, I also know there are communities in Chicago where children and families live this nightmare walking to and from school. Last Saturday’s events have brought this into our consciousness. But it’s not the first time and certainly wont be the last.
 

Since I’ve been in office, I fought for responsible gun legislation. As long as I hold this office, I will continue that fight. Things have to change. Standing on the sideline and waiting for someone else to handle this isn’t an option. If you’re as upset about the violence rocking our country, start demanding more. Get involved, then get your family, friends and neighbors involved. Let’s take the country we love back from this hate.
 

Thinking of the right words to say at a time like this is always hard. Do I express anger? Do I cry? Do I accept it? After soul searching for the right response the best way to handle all of this is not let the gunman win.
 

If we continue to do nothing; he wins. If we live in fear; he wins. If we learn to hate one another; he wins. It doesn’t have to be this way, it cannot be this way.
 

If we continue the fight and stand up for our beliefs; he loses. If we continue to help one another; he loses. If we come together as a community, and learn to love one another, everybody wins. The outpouring of support from the religious community in Pittsburgh has been inspiring. I commend them for their efforts, and thank them for their compassion.
 

My thoughts, prayers, and sympathies go out to the grieving victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting, but know that I plan on taking legislative action to ensure that this never happens here.
 

We will persevere,
Jonathan

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