Let’s talk about last Saturday.
I was sitting on the couch, scrolling through Facebook, when a news alert popped up on my phone. There was an active hostage situation in Colleyville. I shook my head, said a silent prayer, and went back to Facebook. It was there, on someone’s post, that I found out the hostage situation was at a synagogue. I jumped up, wanting to run to my mom, but I hesitated for a moment. I work at a synagogue and my mom already worries about my safety and with everything else going on, did I really want to tell her and cause more fear? I thought about not telling her at all, but I knew she’d find out eventually and it would be better to hear it from me first.
So, I ran upstairs to her room and told her. She flipped to a news station and we watched in silence for a few minutes before I turned to her and said, “I’m supposed to go to Temple tomorrow to help with a program.”
She stared at me before asking, “You’re not actually going to go now, are you? I know this is happening in Colleyville, but it could happen anywhere. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
The rest of the day was a blur as I followed the news updates and checked on my Jewish friends, who I know were probably as scared as I was. When the news broke that the hostages had escaped, I breathed a sigh of relief before crying.
I went back and forth, but I ultimately went to Temple. I just needed to be at the place where I find the most peace.
At staff meeting yesterday, we had time to reflect and express how we felt after the events in Colleyville. It was immediately followed by security training that had been scheduled for a while. I had to turn off my camera at one point as I broke down into tears. I really didn’t expect to have such a visceral reaction like that because I’ve been through security training many times. If I’m being honest, I’ve cried several times since then and I am just a mess of emotions because on top of what has been a difficult week, I am worried about the safety of my community and angry that Jews always have to think about security.
Going to synagogue on Shabbat to pray shouldn’t be a risky activity or act of bravery or something that worries our parents and loved ones. For Jewish clergy and professionals and anyone that works at a Jewish institution, going to work shouldn’t be something that fills us with uncertainty and fear.
I am going to services tonight. I can’t say that my mom is thrilled or that I’m not a little fearful, but the best thing for me to do is be with community. Shabbat Shalom.