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I love my city.  I have lived and worked in the city of Baltimore for the past 31 years. I was born here.  My children were born and raised here.  Both of them graduated from a Baltimore City public high school.  In my work for Catholic Charities, from 2001-2009, I worked with community leaders throughout the city, in many of the poorest neighborhoods of this richly diverse place.  Last night, some of those neighborhoods were under attack by their own residents, on fire with violent acts.  Those of us who care, the overwhelming majority of residents of Baltimore, are heartbroken this morning.

As Jews, we understand that the world around us can bring misery and all too often does not seem fair to all of its inhabitants.  It is up to each of us to work for justice, tzedek, in this broken world.  Justice cannot be accomplished out of hate or with violence, but with care and compassion, over time - person by person.  Rabbi Tarfon taught that "it is not your responsibility to complete the work, neither are you free to desist from it."  Pirkei Avot 2:16.

AJFCA is proud to have our home in Baltimore.  We are in the midst of one of the world's greatest Jewish communities.  Baltimore is home to two of the world's most esteemed medical institutions, Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland, amazing museums, and a revitalized Inner Harbor and downtown that set an example for other cities across the country.  This community has been built on the strengths of previous generations and whenever there has been difficulty, we have demonstrated the resilience to not only continue, but to grow stronger.  We may have many difficult days ahead.  But, we look forward to picking up the fragments, to sharing our tradition's spirit of tikkun olam, perfecting the world.

Shalom for all,