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		                                    Thinking Torah Blog		                                </span>

05/26/2022 05:00:00 PM


Rabbi Josh Whinston, Cantor Regina Hayut, Rabbi Daniel K. Alter

We are heartbroken by yet another senseless and cruel mass shooting of innocents, a shooting that took the precious souls of so many children and teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. This was the 27th school shooting, one of more than 200 mass shootings in the US just this year.
We also lament two more recent mass shootings: at the Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, NY, and at a Taiwanese church in southern California. While these shootings may not seem connected, we, of course, know that they are. They are connected by the pervasive gun culture and the easy availability of firearms in our country.
After so many, these tragedies can become statistics; we must not allow that. We must not allow numbers to replace human beings. Our Torah portion, B’midbar, reminds us not to lose sight of each and every individual: “Take a census of the whole Israelite company by the clans of its ancestral houses, listing the names… head by head.” Our 16th century commentator Ovadia ben Jacob Sforno teaches that each person’s name reflects their virtues, their personality, their individuality. Let us not overlook the individuality of each of the victims:

From the Tops Supermarket:
Aaron Salter, 55
Celestine Chaney, 65
Roberta A. Drury, 32
Andre Mackniel, 53
Katherine Massey, 72
Margus D. Morrison, 52
Heyward Patterson, 67
Geraldine Talley, 62
Ruth Whitfield, 86
Pearl Young, 77
From the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church:
John Cheng, 52
From the Robb Elementary School:
Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, 10
Alithia Ramirez, 10
Amerie Jo Garza, 10
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10
Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10
Eliana “Ellie” Garcia, 9
Eva Mireles, 44
Irma Garcia
Jackie Cazares, 10
Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10
Jayce Luevanos, 10
Jose Flores, 10
Layla Salazar, 10
Makenna Lee Elrod, 10
Maite Rodriguez
Miranda Mathis, 11
Nevaeh Bravo
Rojelio Torres, 10
Tess Marie Mata
Uziyah Garcia, 8
Xavier Lopez, 10
Thirty-two people were murdered in our country within 10 days by three men with easy access to firearms. Zichronam livracha - may their memories be for a blessing. And may their memory spur us to action.
At a national level, many great organizations work for change, such as: Sandy Hook Promisethe Brady CampaignDo Not Stand Idly By, and Everytown for Gun Safety.
At a local level, TBE’s new Security Committee encourages volunteers to be trained to assist in the event of an emergency situation. Please contact Melissa Simon ( or Ned Kirsch ( for more information and to get involved, trained, and engaged in our efforts to build situational awareness in our building.
Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Josh Whinston
Cantor Regina Hayut
Rabbi Daniel K. Alter

Sun, March 3 2024 23 Adar I 5784