Yom Shabbat, 10 Tammuz 5778
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Avinu Malkeinu, we stand in awe, we draw close in love.

Like many of the Jews, and non-Jews, across the world, the events that took place in Charlottesville on Friday, August 11th left me reeling. I was angry, numb, shocked, upset. I texted my friends and they, too, responded with outrage. For that weekend, I lost a little bit of faith in America, and in the world. I was, as the kids say, “shook.”

Avinu Malkeinu, we stand in awe, we draw close in love. This verse, I believe, reflects not only how our country has responded to Charlottesville, Barcelona, and the presence of domestic terrorism in our communities, but also the world.

I listened to NPR after the attack in Spain. The correspondent for Barcelona described the sense of unity that pervaded the city, how citizens and tourists alike banded together to provide comfort and courage to each other.

I found an article on Facebook about the white supremacist rally in Boston and the city’s response. Droves of people showed up in counter protest, thousands rallying against the few dozen self-proclaimed “Alt-Right” and KKK supporters, vastly outnumbering them.

As America, and as the global community, recovers from these threats and acts of violence, I feel many things. I feel relief, pride, admittedly a little smug (take that, Neo-Nazis!), upbeat. But most of all, I feel love.

I feel love because America has shown that it will not back down from a threat on its home soil, even when our leaders are hesitant to outright condemn that threat. I feel love because people of all walks of life can count on each other for support, even in an unfamiliar city that is usually ambivalent towards its outsiders. I feel love because, in these past few weeks, the global community has come together in so many ways to show these violent and hateful fringe groups that no, we do not approve, and no, we will not allow you to hurt us. I feel love and I am in awe.

So, Avinu Malkeinu, thank you. Whether or not any of these events were divinely influenced, whether or not any responses were guided by the hand of G-d, thank you. Because regardless of theology, there’s something divine in how we have all come together. There’s something beautiful and spiritual in feeling love for and from your fellow human beings. I hope that, as we move into the new year, I continue to feel this warmth and support.

Avinu Malkeinu, I stand before You in awe, drawn close not only in Your love, but the in the love of my community -- Jewish, American, and global.

-- Maddie Pflueger, Administrative Assistant