A Statement from Rev. Dr. Kolb about the Tragedy at Tree of Life

From the vigil: 

Good evening! My name is Vincent Kolb; I am the Pastor of Sixth Presbyterian Church. Just two weeks ago at the JCC, the film crew for You Are My Friend completed filming a movie about Fred Rogers, starring Tom Hanks, that will be released sometime next year. It is the story of a man who lived and worked and worshipped in our neighborhood, a man who continues to teach us all about love, neighborliness, and peace. When he teaches the children; his words and way still speak to us; they still teach us.

It is in that spirit of neighborliness that we gather here tonight, to be allies for our Jewish neighbors who have been victimized and traumatized by this tragedy. Because this happened just down the street, we have opened our doors. It is important for us to stand in solidarity with our Jewish friends, family, and neighbors. This means we will gather again in a few minutes out in the street with our Jewish friends for the Havdalah service.

In spite of our religious, ethnic, political, and economic differences, despite the diversity of our genders and sexualities, our histories, and our experiences, we are one human family. We gather to affirm our kinship with all our fellow human beings, but particularly tonight with the millions and millions in the Jewish community who continue to be the target for hate crimes. We gather because we are heartbroken, but we also gather to affirm our resolve that we have zero tolerance for antisemitic speech, behavior, and violence. Zero tolerance. In the words of the psalmist, we want the mouths of liars to be stopped.

Finally we gather as a people who long for a new day and a new city when the tears of the suffering will be dried, when the reign of goodness is clear, where the creation is restored, and the leaves of the tree of life will be for the healing of all peoples.


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