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Community Blog Students Against Gun Violence

By Daniel Dubin

I am so pleased that we have established the Gun Violence Prevention Group at Hebrew College. Our mission is to advocate for sensible gun laws in Massachusetts and amplify voices that are already doing this work, primarily through the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, which believes in a multilayered approach. You can join the work by subscribing to our listserv.

After Cain murdered his brother Abel, God exclaimed: “מֶ֣ה עָשִִׂיתָ ק֚וֹל דְּמֵ֣י אָחִ֔יָ צֹעֲקִ֥ים אֵלַ֖י מִן־הָֽאֲדָמָֽה What have you done?! The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the earth!” (Genesis 10:4) This verse comes back in the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 4:5): “Thus, we learn that humanity (Adam) was created alone/singularly. This teaches you that anybody who destroys one soul, it is as if the entire world has been destroyed. And anybody who saves one life, it is as if the entire world has been sustained.”

If we truly believe that all of humanity is connected, then how could we possibly stand idly by while others are senselessly dying? One does need to look deep into the halakhah to understand that too many divine lives are dying.

The Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence believes that all work must be done with a lens on racial justice, disparity of all kinds, and social determinants of health, as well as recognizing inequity to be a root cause of violence. The Pandemic has caused a surge in gun violence-related injuries and fatalities, hitting our poorest neighborhoods hardest. In our own city of Boston, deadly shootings are up 34% compared to last year, as of Labor Day.

As we leave Yom Kippur and dive into the rest of our New Year, I am reminded of our teacher Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld’s words at a recent teaching for the cantorial and rabbinical school. She said, “True teshuva is really about asking ourselves, can I not lovingly push myself just a bit more?” So too, real change, real teshuva, only comes from looking suffering straight in the eye and breaking our hearts.

As we seek to create a new year full of blessing and compassion, we hope you’ll join with the Gun Violence Prevention Group at Hebrew College in this holy work.

danny-dubinDaniel Dubin is a rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Newton, MA.

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