Last night, we lost eight lives to gun violence, during a shooting spree in Atlanta. Six of the victims were Asian women. Investigators feel it is too early to determine the motive of the shooter, and whether it is considered a hate crime against the Asian community. However, we have seen a recent increase in violence and harassment towards Asian Americans.
We have entered the month of Nisan, the month of Passover. This is a holiday where we tell the story of our oppression and marginalization and our ultimate journey to freedom. One of the foundational messages of Torah and the Passover Seder is that no one is truly free until all are free. We are instructed in Torah, at least 36 times, to not oppress the stranger, to welcome the stranger, and ultimately to love the stranger. Why? Because we were once strangers in the land of Egypt. It is unacceptable to the Jewish psyche that anyone experiences a similar struggle. And if we see that happening, it is our ethical and moral obligation to do what we can to fix it.
So the first thing we can do to fix it is call it out when we see it. We send the message to our Asian brothers and sisters that we are allies and advocates.
May the souls of those we lost to this terrible tragedy rise with ease and may their loved ones be comforted during this time.