From the Heart
Rabbi Gary S. Creditor
I wish that Saturday, January 26th wasn’t Shabbat, for I would have gone to Washington, D.C. to march with them because the voices of reason, the voices of peace, are stronger, more numerous than any other organization. These voices just need to rise in an increasing crescendo so that those in power will enact policies that will lead to our promised and sacred rights, the first, and not by accident it is first, is life.
At the conclusion of the vigil we lay down on the ground for three minutes. It was not too cold but definitely something that I would not otherwise do. Three minutes is what it takes to do a background check when buying a gun. I looked up to the blue sky and clouds flying past through the leafless trees. I said to the person laying next me: “I wonder if when dead, my soul could look through everything else and see the sky like we are now?” All these people on the ground, we were alive but I was thinking of the dead. I felt the pain of knowing why I was, where I was. I thought of the pain of Bonnie Marrow, and all those like her, who had been murdered just a month before the vigil a year ago. What does it take, O Lord?
And so I urge you to consider this organization. Their basic goals are to:
1) Require background checks for ALL gun purchasers (i.e. closing the “gun show loophole”)
2) Ban assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds
3) Report the sale of large quantities of ammunition to the ATF
4) Limit the scope of concealed weapons laws at the state level
While this subject is complex, these limited goals, when achieved, could make a significant contribution to the welfare of our country and change the tenor of our lives. No answer is easy. No fix is quick. There is a lot of work to do. This is one of them. Mental health issues need to be truly addressed. The culture of America needs to be changed. The Rabbis tells us that the hour is short, the work is great, and the Master is knocking at our door. I hear that knock. I feel it. Every day. Every hour. I want my children and grandchildren to live in peace.
Rabbi Gary S. Creditor has been a Jewish leader for over 35 years, teaching all ages, envisioning and creating a community mikvah, participating on countless boards and communal agencies, Jewish, interfaith, and civic. Rabbi Creditor was tapped by Governor Kaine to participate in the memorial program for the students and faculty who died at Virginia Tech. A member of the international Rabbinical Assembly of America, the Washington Board of Rabbis, and New York Board of Rabbis, Rabbi Creditor was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the world-wide center for Conservative Judaism. In 2003 he received his Doctorate from J.T.S. recognizing more than 25 years of Rabbinic service. He is a passionate and engaging Jewish leader, a teacher of great wisdom and warm pastoral friend to many.