From the moment the news from Pittsburgh broke Saturday morning, we felt a range of emotions: grief; despair; and yes, anger. And yet, as we always do, we responded with strength. Almost immediately, both the Federation and our Jewish Community Relations Council issued statements. But we knew there was much more we could do.
After the sun was down and Shabbat had passed, our agency and synagogue leaders began pulling together on a plan for a community-wide memorial service, “Stop the Hate,” on Tuesday night at Congregation of Reform Judaism. Though the circumstances were heart-wrenching, it was nonetheless inspiring to witness our community coming together Tuesday in a clear and resolute demonstration of unity and strength. With more than 1,200 people of numerous faiths and cultural backgrounds in attendance, the Greater Orlando Board of Rabbis and our interfaith partners led our community on a journey of mourning, sorrow and renewal of spirit. It is our hope, as we know it is yours as well, that our community will use this opportunity to grow, to effect change, and to truly and finally say “Never Again” for the last time.
To the many members of our community in attendance, thank you for joining us. To those unable to make it in person, your presence and your prayers were still felt in the sanctuary, I assure you.
For those of us still seeking a way to act in response to this tragedy, our JCRC is proudly partnering with the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center, BBYO, the OnePulse Foundation, and many other Central Florida organizations for a collaborative day of healing through art.
Participants of all ages and walks of life will create artwork to send to Pittsburgh as well as contribute to a large, collaborative art piece to be displayed here in Orlando.
“Responding With Kindness”
Thursday, Nov. 8
6 to 8 p.m.
Orlando United Assistance Center
507 East Michigan Street
Orlando, FL 32806
Free materials for the art projects, food, beverages, professional mental health services, emotional support animals, good music, and space to sit and decompress with friends will be available.