As we all struggle to make sense of the horrific events in Pittsburgh, it is important not only to condemn murderous violence, but also to act with compassion, decency, and goodness. A friend who volunteers with HIAS, the venerable refugee resettlement agency, posted some particularly moving comments, and I quote him in full below. Love can overcome hate.
Our prayers reach out to the 11 who were murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh a few days ago and all who continue to suffer from that incident. In the run-up to his crime, the mass murderer apparently took in and spread falsehoods about HIAS, a refugee assistance non-profit in the Jewish community.
For the past two years I have been a volunteer with an affiliate of HIAS in Westchester County. What have we been doing together? We have been helping new Americans, chosen and thoroughly vetted by the US Department of State, yes the one headed by Mike Pompeo, to find housing, jobs and education for their children. Most of these new Americans were targeted for death because they had helped the brave American military as translators and logistical support personnel in their home countries. Our military wants them safe in America because they need to depend on such people in their dangerous deployments. If our troops cannot keep safe those who helped them in the past, they will not find the helpers they need today. The gentleman I assisted was seeking a job within 2 months of his arrival, found one in 5 months and is paying taxes. The children were in school less than a month after arriving. He and his children speak English fluently and his wife attends ESL classes 4 days a week and is getting there.
This is the truth. Not the venom spewed by the murderer in Pittsburgh. In a sense, his bullets were meant for me too. In the past 10 years three times more Americans have been killed by radical white nationalist terrorists, such as this one, than have been killed by radical islamist terrorists. We must oppose the people of either group who live by hate with a message of love and solidarity.
If you wish to learn more about HIAS you will find their web site at www.hias.org . If you wish to join me in making a donation to their work, there is a button to donate in the upper right hand corner.
Live with compassionate love every day.