Hate Has No Home Here

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There’s no place in civilized society for hate yet it exists and persists with a furor. Driving through my neighborhood, I still see a few signs that bear that infamous tagline that garnered countrywide acclaim during the 2016 presidential election; one in particular has a prominent location in a front window facing the street. When I see that sign I feel a little sad because it’s unfortunate that we need to be reminded not to hate.

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What does it mean to hate someone and why does it appear to the norm? There no longer seems to be a middle ground, it’s either love and adoration or hate and injustice. People don’t agree so they try and hurt each other or worse, kill. It’s baffling that there is so much discontent due to ideological differences among certain people that the only perceivable way to resolve issues is with hateful rhetoric, discrimination and violence.

Christianity is or was my religion. Many years ago, I checked off the box in the column of non-believers. It’s okay, it feels right to me but my parents aren’t happy, although they keep it to themselves. Religion was forced down my throat during my childhood and I rebelled in every way I could think of and when I became old enough to start doing what I wanted, I stopped going and also stopped believing, or rather started trusting what I’d already accepted: there was no God. I’ve never said that out loud to my parents and I never will; that belongs to me. Despite my feelings toward the Christian religion I felt different when I attended Shir Ami synagogue in Newtown. Perhaps it’s because for me, it was new, different yet similar in ways to the Christian faith. Or maybe I welcomed it more because it was my decision, I went because I wanted to and hoped to learn something. Being there that evening, six days after the shooting at Tree of Life was a poignant moment for me. There were so many people there from different churches and different faiths just offering their support and I realized I would have been there even if it weren’t part of an assignment. The original reason I went that Friday night changed the minute I walked through the door and was greeted with Shabbat Shalom. I was a community member, grieving with fellow human beings about the tragedy of hate and how in a single instant, everything that matters in life can be changed forever. Everything about the service was lovely, the singing was beautiful, the accompanying band was energetic and stage-worthy, the Rabbi was gracious and welcoming, the regular members were helpful and friendly, and every single moment of the service from beginning to end was beautiful. Even in the face of insurmountable devastation and loss,

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