In Solidarity with the Jews of Poway
The April attack at the Chabad of Poway had a personal connection for the Levertov family of Chabad of Austin. The Levertovs' niece is married to the son of Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, senior rabbi of Chabad of Poway, who both serve on the staff of Chabad of Poway. The Levertovs' nephew, Rabbi Mendy Goldstein, and three of the Goldsteins' children were in the synagogue when the attack occurred. Credit: Wendy Goodman.
By Rabbi Yosef Levertov
Following is a letter Rabbi Yosef Levertov sent to Austin community members April 28, the day after the shooting at the Chabad of Poway. This letter is reprinted with his permission.
We are heartbroken and pained by the attack that took place yesterday, the last day of Pesach, during services, at Chabad of Poway, California.
We are devastated upon the cold-blooded murder of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, a dear friend of the Goldsteins and a staunch supporter of Chabad of Poway. She was a paragon of kindness and compassion. We extend heartfelt sympathy to her family and the entire Chabad of Poway community upon their terrible loss. We mourn with you in your time of grief.
This incident is all the more personal for us as our niece Shterna is married to Rabbi Mendy Goldstein, the son of Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, senior rabbi of Chabad of Poway, and they both serve on the staff of Chabad of Poway.
Our nephew, Rabbi Mendy Goldstein and three of their children, were in the synagogue when tragedy struck. We are overwhelmed with gratitude to the Al-mighty that they are safe and sound. We are humbled by and grateful for the outpouring of love and support from our dear friends at this difficult time.
Our prayers for a speedy recovery to Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Noya Dahan (age 8) and Alon Peretz, who were viciously injured by the shooter.
We are grateful for the heroic efforts by individuals in the synagogue blocking the shooter from inflicting further injury and preventing greater loss of life.
We are thankful to the California Highway Patrol in San Diego for their quick response in apprehending the shooter.
The Rebbe often reminded us at times like these that along with the outrage, mourning, and grief, we must focus our energies on action and positive change.
Let us each take upon ourselves a new mitzvah this week to combat the ugly hate that has again reared its ugly face. More than just a nice sentiment, the light and goodness we bring into the world through performing a mitzvah - by adding in goodness and kindness we create real, positive change, generating light and bringing the era of redemption ever closer.
Today, please reach out to another with kindness, give extra charity, put on tefillin, put a mezuzah on your door, attend a Torah class, resolve to light Shabbat candles, or choose any mitzvah that is close to your heart.
Let us pray that G-d send healing and comfort to the Jewish community of Poway. We pray for the day when all evil and hatred will vanish from the world, with the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days.
In the merit of our collective mitzvot, may we each bring much comfort and peace at this challenging time.
In the immediate aftermath of the carnage, before being rushed to the hospital, Rabbi Goldstein spoke to the congregation and said, “We are strong. We are united. They can't break us."
We invite the entire community to join us for a gathering of solidarity and inspiration Monday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m. at Chabad Center, 3808 Spicewood Springs Road.
With prayers that we merit to only share good news,
Rabbi Yosef and Rochel Levertov, Chabad of Austin
Rabbi Zev and Ariela Johnson, Chabad of UT
Rabbi Mendy and Mussy Levertov, Chabad YJP
Rabbi Mendel and Mussi Marasow, Chabad of Round Rock ■