To the Temple Etz Chaim community,

The peace of Shabbat was desecrated when a gunman entered services and took hostages in Colleyville, Texas.  A few hours after the sun set and a new week began, we learned the joyful news that law enforcement officials had rescued Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and the others who had been held captive.  Any premature death is unfortunate, including that of the hostage taker.  But I am so grateful and relieved that innocent lives were saved.  There is much that we need to reflect on and to do this week and in the weeks to come.  For today, however, let us be thankful, as the Psalmist tells us, that joy comes in the morning.

Our Temple leadership has received training on how to deal with an active shooter situation and on ensuring the safety of our congregants.  In light of what happened yesterday, we will of course be looking again at what if any additional steps need to be undertaken.

Antisemitism continues to be on the rise, and it continues to manifest itself in new and horrific ways.  However, our response to it must not be to be overwhelmed by fear.  We are strong, and we have the backing of our larger community.  We appreciate the strong and successful actions of law enforcement at all levels and the words of support from our governmental officials, from the President of the United States on down.

Some of you might want to talk to process your feelings.  Please know that I am here for you.  You can reach out to me by email ( or by phone (508-528-5337).

In the words of our daily prayers, ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם מתיר אסורים, Baruch atah, Adonai, Eloheinu, Melech haolam, matir asurim, Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who frees the captive.

Rabbi Tom Alpert