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The Worst and Best in Humans: Reactions to the Poway Shooting

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Good people are always mystified by what drives a “regular” person to plan and execute the deliberate and premeditated cold-blooded murder of innocent people, let alone in a house of worship. What is going on in this person’s twisted mind and dark heart as he attacks men, women and children of faith during their prayers and celebrations?! How can a human being stoop to such obscene hate and cruelty?

Our hearts are shattered as they go out to the husband, daughter, family and community of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was cruelly murdered by a terrorist in a heinous attack on Jews gathered in prayer at Chabad-Lubavitch of Poway last Shabbat, the final day of Passover.

But within the tragedy and grief — and the demonstration of the ugliest within humans — another story has emerged, one that is more powerful than the senseless crime perpetrated: The story of the best within humans.

Lori Kaye gave her life to save her Rabbi and others in her shul. Rabbi Goldstein through his actions and words, exhibited the noble majesty and dignity of a soul’s capability: not focusing on himself, but on his calling and mission. Millions, if not billions of people are being gripped by the heart-wrenching, yet formidable words of Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, the Rabbi of the Poway community who survived the attack. In articles and interviews, from his hospital bed and at the funeral service, Rabbi Goldstein is relentlessly focusing neither on his pain and loss, nor on fear and anger, but on his determination to transform this tragedy into a force of goodness and kindness.

Please join Rabbi Jacobson as he discusses this tragedy and the lessons it provides us about both the worst and best in human beings, and above all — what we can do in face of such darkness, both short-term and long-term, in preventing such travesties from happening ever again.

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