A Jewish Reflection on the Boston Marathon Bombing: Overcoming Terrorism

Photo credit: The U.S. Army / Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: The U.S. Army / Foter.com / CC BY

Last week we once again were forced to confront the horrific side of terrorism. As Rabbi Steven Kushner wrote last week in a letter to his congregation, “No matter who is behind it, whether it is domestic or foreign, no matter what we call it, it’s intent was not merely to inflict death and devastation but also – indeed, maybe foremost – to attack our souls. And like all other acts of terrorism, it succeeded.”

Many of us felt like we knew someone who knew someone who was there.  Friends or family in Boston.  Friends or family who participate in Marathons.  Friends or family who have also come close to terrorism.  It hits close to home. It could have been any young boy standing at the sidelines waiting for his father to finish.  It could have been any college student watching a wonderful civic event, far away from her homeland.  It could have been you, me or everyone.  That is what makes it scarier, such a random attack at a special event that is about supporting one another.  We all feel the emotional impact.


When we are faced with moments when we feel helpless and cannot do anything, our faith teaches us that there is something we can do.  Rabbi Kushner writes, “We can offer prayers for those who were directly impacted by the bombs. We pray for the recovery of those injured. We pray for those who lost loved ones. And maybe more than anything else, we pray that we can make a difference. And we can. Judaism teaches us to believe in the goodness of humanity, and that random acts of evil can be overwhelmed by pervasive acts of love and compassion”.

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