A Statement on the Tragedy in Las Vegas

October 3, 2017

Rabbi Dennis C. Sasso

We gather as a community of concerned citizens and people of faith to express our grief at the recent mass killing tragedy in Las Vegas.  We offer our sympathies to the families of the victims, our sorrow over the senseless loss of life and our prayers for the healing and recovery of the hundreds wounded.

The wounds are not only physical; they go to the very core of our hearts and souls.

When tragedies of this nature occur, the tendency is to blame the incident on the mental health and emotional instability of the culprit.  Treating the issue of gun violence as a mental health problem is evasive and irresponsible.  The truth is, that individuals with mental illness and emotional problems are more often the victims of violence rather than its perpetrators.

The blame for these far too many events of gun violence, brought about by the availability of assault weapons of warfare magnitude, lies in the collective amnesia and social delusion that allows for the rights of gun ownership to prevail over the protection of life and the pursuit of happiness of our citizens.

Let us hope that our leaders will engage seriously the issue of gun control for the safety and protection of all Americans.  Reasonable gun control might not totally eradicate such calamities, but it will make them less likely and less deadly.  There need to be rules and we need legislators with enough courage to make them.

Rabbi Dennis C. Sasso
Congregation Beth-El Zedeck


A Prayer for Peace

May we see the day when violence and bloodshed shall cease, when a great peace will embrace the whole world;

When all who live on earth shall realize that we have not come into being to hate or to destroy, but to give thanks, to labor, to hope.

Compassionate God, bless the leaders of our nation with the power of compassion.

Fulfill the promise conveyed in Scripture:

I will bring peace to the land, and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you.

Violence shall no longer be heard in the land, devastation nor calamity within your borders.

For they shall beat their guns into plowshares and their rifles into pruning hooks.

People shall no more raise weapons against one another, and none shall make them afraid.

Let love and justice flow like a mighty stream.

Let peace fill the earth as the waters fill the sea.

And let us say:  Amen.


(Dennis C. Sasso, adapted from Mahzor Lev Shalem and inspired by the Prophets of Israel) 

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