The tragic shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh shook the entire nation. In that wake of that tragedy, we asked Rabbi Andrew Jacobs how we as South Floridians can ensure our community, which is such a melting pot, embraces diversity.
"We have to understand and appreciate that we are each special. In the Jewish world I come from, we call it holy. We each have our own gifts and if we could see the people around us have these gifts too, that would encourage us to approach them differently, respect them, and learn from them. We should appreciate that diversity is beautiful. We may not always like what we hear, when we explore diversity in the community. Just because we don't like what someone has to say doesn't mean our job is to shut them down or undermine them. Perhaps our job is to listen, learn, or challenge them to see a different point of view," said Rabbi Andrew Jacobs from Ramat Shalom Synagogue.
Of course, when you spend time with people from different backgrounds, you won’t always agree. But Rabbi Jacobs says when it comes to those differences, rather than run from them, you should embrace them. And the Rabbi was touched by the outpouring of love he and his congregation received by South Floridians of multiple faiths.
"One of the most touching pieces for me was after the attack in Pittsburgh, one of the local churches in our community sent over a care packages filled with some comfort food and beautiful notes," said Rabbi Jacobs.
It seems like there’s been so much violence and sadness locally and nationally this year. While it can feel overwhelming, the Rabbi has inspirational words to help us persevere and see the good in the world.
"If you open your eyes and really look, there are amazing things that go on around us all the time. Simply being able to wake up and love the people who are apart of your life makes a difference. It's easy to allow the darkness to consume us. If we open our eyes and realize that there's the good stuff, it can lift us up at those dark moments," said Rabbi Jacobs.