Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Statement from the Jewish Community Relations Council


The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando expresses its deepest sympathies to the survivors, victims and families impacted by the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, and all those affected by senseless murder that plagues our nation.

The importance of action, rather than words, is a central lesson of Judaism. In particular, the Torah expressly commands, “Do not stand idly by the blood of your fellow” and compels us to take whatever action we can to save, protect, and defend human life (“piku’ach nefesh”). By this standard, and any standard of common decency, we are failing. Yet again, last week our Nation suffered a devastating loss at the hands of a sick individual with an AR-15. This time, we lost 17 innocent souls, and a number of others still hang in the balance. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result, then we—our elected leaders and the American public—are either insane or do not wish to produce a different result. Neither scenario is acceptable. It is long past time that we as a Nation demand better —and not just for the next few weeks while this senseless tragedy is still fresh in our minds, but until our demands are met by those with the power to meet them. The JCRC is heartened by the actions of the survivors in Parkland, Florida, who have spoken out in the face of inaction by certain elected officials. Most of the survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are not even old enough to vote, but have already emerged from this tragedy as the leaders that we need. We hope to see many of our friends and neighbors get involved in the upcoming demonstrations planned for Washington, D.C., and in local communities around the country.*

As long as this issue is neglected by those with the power to affect change, our society will be liable for the traumatic and repetitive violence aimed at our children—and our concertgoers, our employees, our airport travelers, our club goers, our church parishioners, and so on—by madmen with assault weapons. We cannot stand idly by. It is a matter of life and death.

Ben Friedman, director of JCRC with co-chairs Ina Porth and Michelle Zaltsberg

* The upcoming demonstrations take place March 24.


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