New York, Nu York: Sunday Should Be A Good Day…
Shouldn’t our Sundays be good, pleasurable, enjoyable? (And our Saturdays as well.) Sunday, November 5th in New York City started out as an overcast, gray day but so many people in the City were excited about the annual Marathon. This event, which brings together athletes professional and amateur, as well as volunteers who help out in so many ways, and even more spectators along the route, is cherished by just about every New Yorker past and present. Runners and people in wheel chairs follow a course that goes through each of the five boroughs of the City. It is an inspirational and motivational event, and it brings a warm, cheerful sense of community to all.
I went to see a segment of the race that is somewhat early, located at the junction of 4th Avenue and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, near the Barclays Center arena and the large transit hub that brings together several subway train lines and the Long Island Railroad. Hundreds of people were cheering on runners; some held signs to acknowledge particular runners (such as the “Go Mailk!” sign I saw) and others shook noisemakers. People cheered on racers and even offered high-fives to some. There was a stage set up there and a few young men were dancing to pop music; the radio station Z-100 was the sponsor.
The scene was happy and spirited, and also well-deserved. Sadly, a few days earlier on Tuesday, October 31st, New Yorkers found their Halloween celebrations gravely marred by the horrific actions of an Uzbeki national, a man who rammed a truck into bicycle riders in lower Manhattan. Eight people were killed and many others injured, including high school students at nearby Stuyvesant High School. But New Yorkers pulled together and made the Sunday running of the Marathon into a wonderful spectacle.
But our Sunday was marred by the news of a mass shooting at a church in a tiny Texas town; a gunman shot and killed 26 people at a house of worship and then sped away. Whether you want to consider that an act of domestic terrorism, or an outburst of mental illness and revenge of some type, it is an awful event.
It seems that the United States cannot get through one single week without a horrific shooting or other sizable act of violence. It seems that the US cannot find a single day just to have fun and enjoy life’s pleasures. The stock, trite motion to “offer our prayers and condolences” is pretty much empty. Yes, I will go to shul and pray that our city, our country, our world will find peace, at least for a day. “Sim Shalom” is the beloved daily prayer that channels our hopes for peace. If only enough people in the world would heed the words and message of Sim Shalom.
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