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Victoria’s Secrets: Love and hate 

love and hate
The Sohmer family.

It electrified my brain this week that there could be so much love in this world and still so much hate.

Love overwhelmed and surrounded me this weekend as our family gathered in grand celebration for my granddaughter Morgan’s Bat Mitzvah, a right of passage in the Jewish faith when a child turns 13. 

love and hate
Morgan saying the Sabbath prayers.

The love I saw between my children and their family and friends filled my heart with gratitude. I feel blessed that my children and six grandchildren are so closely connected and show so much joy toward each other.

It was also the gathering of the Yunis clan, with Jon, Hillary and Jillian coming from Sarasota, joining Jon’s sister Mimi and Jim Broner, and their sons Zach and Sam, adding to my joy!

love and hate
Jon Yunis and Mimi Broner.

My heart swelled with pride when the cantor, after the Friday night Sabbath service, said to me, “You should feel very proud. You’ve done a great job as a mother and your children and grandchildren are good people, smart, caring and generous. You taught them well!” That is the best compliment I have ever received!

On Saturday, as the sun was setting, family and friends gathered again in the synagogue for the service to officially celebrate Morgan’s Bat Mitzvah. After her many months of study and practice, she was ready to go!

love and hate
Celebrating Morgan’s bat mitzvah!

Morgan stood straight, tall and strong on the bema, the stage that houses the Torah and from where the rabbi and cantors lead the service. She wore a white and gold dress matching the prayer shawl I had bought for her in Israel at her brother Blake’s Bar Mitzvah. 

Before she began her Torah reading, the grandparents had a chance to recite a prayer in her honor. This was mine:

May you live to see your world fulfilled. 

May your destiny be for worlds still to come, and may you trustin generations past and yet to be. 

May your heart be filled with intuition and your words be filled with insight. 

May songs of praise ever be upon your tongue and your vision be a straight path before you. 

May your eyes shine with the light of holy words and your face reflect the brightness of the heavens. 

May your cherished hopes be fulfilled in your lifetime.

May your heart be filled with understanding. 

May your mouth speak wisdom.

May your eyes direct you straight forward. 

May they shine with the light of Torah.

May your lips speak knowledge and righteousness. 

And may your feet swiftly take you to places where the words of God are heard.

May it all come true!

She took her place by the Torah and masterfully read her portion.

It was a night for life’s memory book, one I will never forget!

HATE rears its head

love and hate
Shooting suspect Payton Gendron (AP Photo by Matt Rourke)

In contrast, I wonder about the alleged 18-year-old mass killer Payton Gendron family.

Gendron allegedly killed 10 innocent people in the mass shooting in Buffalo, with three more being left wounded. Law enforcement sources believe that he targeted Black people in his attack.

Where were his parents and the community and the “institutions” that watch over us? Did nobody know that he had been given a psychiatric evaluation just last June following the discovery of evil, hateful things he wrote?

The day of the shooting, he was found with two more guns, in addition to the alleged murder weapon. How could this happen? WHo could allow this to happen?

Didn’t anybody know he published hate-filled posts on social media? Didn’t anybody know he had guns? Didn’t anybody know he needed help? Where was the “community” in his life? 

I think it all starts with family, because how could this family of this young boy not know that there was a real problem?

Why do people need to hate each other? Why do people need to hurt other people? 

How do we stop it?

There are so many failures in our system, but I believe the buck starts and stops with the family. 

Did the alleged shooter have a network of friends or family? Perhaps if he had a better support system, the tragedy in Buffalo could have been avoided. 

My heart grieves for those precious lives lost.

We must all be part of the solution and work together to stop hate wherever it’s seen. We must all take responsibility and do our part to keep this a great country, where people of different backgrounds can live side by side with each other without having to worry about hateful rhetoric.

REMEMBER: IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING!

I was blessed this weekend to feel love, but saddened so many people felt heartache and pain in the wake of hate. 

Let us all be better and work toward eradicating hate!

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