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Countering This Darkness With Light: Responding to the Jerusalem Synagogue Massacre

I spent too long on Twitter trying to get CBC News to apologize over the “Jerusalem Police fatally shoot 2 after apparent synagogue attack” headline on their website. Looking back, that time could have been spent much more productively by being a first and foremost a Jewish first responder.

We all have a responsibility to be vigilant about media blunder, bias, and sensationalizing. However, I am afraid that I became so preoccupied on how this horrific tragedy was portrayed in the media that I neglected the Jewish response. I got into this “Honest Reporting Sheriff” mentality and forgot what God wants now that I am faced with his unbearable tragedy.

While my first response at that moment was to mourn — I let is pass by quickly as my emotions turned to anger and frustration. I “got up in the face” of CBC and CNN and who knows else on Twitter. I called them out for what they are.

When I realized that this anger was taking me nowhere fast, I returned to mourning. I cried over the loss of precious life, and to screamed out to God in frustration. I organized prayers for the dead and for the injured at our synagogue, and reached out to comfort students at USC who were in mourning. I hugged my children tightly to calm their sorrow.

Having helped to stem the bleeding of from our hearts, I turn my time to help bring light to the world that was filled with darkness and chaos. It’s time to make the world a more blessed place and tie myself to efforts around the world that are seeking healing.

So I joined a worldwide psalm recitation website to increase the time I am committing to prayer. I organized a new weekly Talmud study partner (chevruta) and a new Torah learning event, Leil Shishi, at Pico Shul. I committed myself to helping someone who can’t pay their rent this month and a young couple that need help making a wedding. I have added psalms to be said at Shul every week for peace in Israel.

Next time tragedy strikes I will only be checking twitter to get updates on what’s happening. I am done being a “Media Watchdog.” I’ll leave that to others.

I am going to be busy organizing a Jewish response to tragedy helping to repair the tear in the heart of the Jewish people and countering the darkness with light.

We mourn the loss of Rabbi Moshe Twerskis, Rabbi Calman Levine, Rabbi Aryeh Kopinsky, and Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg Zayig Sayif.

And we pray for the complete and speedy recovery of Eitan ben Sarah, Shmuel Yeruchem ben Baila, Yitzchok ben Chaya, Chaim Yechiel ben Malka And those who need healing.

May God comfort the mourners and bring healing to those injured, and may we see the redemption soon, quickly, in our days. Amen.

USC opens $175 Million Film School—Can’t Find 100k To Save Student Lives?

Two USC students walking Saturday night were hit by a speeding maniac.

Adrianna Bachan, 19, and Marcus Garfinkle, also 19, were in a crosswalk on Jefferson Boulevard at Hoover Street about 3 a.m. Sunday when a car heading east on Jefferson ran a red light and struck them, according to police.

Adrianna was dead instantly, and Marcus his holding on to life be a thread.

A USC Vice-President, Michael Jackson, was quoted in today’s LA Times as saying it’s difficult to stop someone from running a red light.

The man should be checked for a pulse. Is he alive or is he made of stone.

Meanwhile the LA Times just ran an article about the $175,000,000 that USC spent on a new Film School.

And USC doesn’t have $100,000 for a pedestrian bridge?

As seen in this article excerpt below – they think that 10,000 students making a pilgrimage daily across a busy street is just the way it goes.

Michael Jackson, USC’s vice president of student affairs, said university officials have been proactive in trying to cope with the heavy amount of pedestrian and vehicle traffic around campus and will install a light within the next few months at 28th and Hoover streets, where another student was struck and injured earlier this year.

Jackson said the Jefferson-Hoover intersection sees an enormous amount of pedestrian traffic because some 10,000 students live north of Jefferson Boulevard.

“Just imagine,” he said. “That’s a lot of people going back and forth.”

Jackson said university officials have worked with the city to improve the intersection and that a new system was implemented within the last couple of years that allows pedestrians to cross at several points while all traffic is stopped.

He said officials are planning to reexamine the spot after Sunday’s fatality, but that it’s difficult to stop someone from running a red light.