As the Jewish world grapples emotionally with another deadly synagogue shooting—and the family of Lori Kaye begins a grievous mourning process—Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, the indelibly injured yet indomitably spirited founding rabbi of Chabad of Poway, has a personal request for everyone:
Whether it’s mitzvahs like putting on tefillin for men, or lighting Shabbat candles for womenand girls, there is one mitzvah that every Jew, regardless of gender or age, can do, he says, in a grand show of unity and steadfast fortitude.
“We’re going to do just like the Rebbe taught us,” Goldstein shared with Chabad.org from his hospital bed earlier this week. “We are going to do something positive. I’m encouraging and I’m pleading with every single Jew that sees this appeal: This weekend, go to your own respective synagogues, fill up the ballrooms, fill up the sanctuaries, let them see that nothing will take us down, let them see that this is not going to deter us; it’s not going to scare us.”
With bandages camouflaging the loss of a finger on his right hand that was hit in the bullet fire during last Shabbat’s synagogue attack and a lump in his throat over the murder of longtime congregant and supporter, Lori (Leah) Gilbert-Kaye, Goldstein, 57, persisted in his appeal, aiming the invitation at Jews of all levels of observance, including the non-affiliated.
“Jewish unity is what we need now,” said Goldstein, who founded the suburban Chabad center, 20 miles north of San Diego, with his wife, Devorie, in 1986. “We all need to stand together, hold hands together, love each other, just like the Rebbe [Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory], taught us, [with] unconditional love. That a little bit of light pushes away darkness, [and] a lot of light will certainly push away this horrific darkness.”
The program is backed by Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries around the world, Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Chabad.org. A web page is up and running, inviting all to enter their mitzvah commitments.
Join in the campaign, and Do a Mitzvah for Poway.