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That makes me so, so sad. Compassion is hard to hold onto when things like this happen. I still hold on tight to it. It's the only way I know to make a difference. So... compassion is a thing to grow. And build. It starts with understanding and shared experiences. Though I am not Jewish, I happen to be raising a Jewish daughter who had her bat mitzvah last year. I've learned a few things about Judaism over the years, though not nearly enough to be an expert.

The Havdallah event that the article mentions cancelling is a prayer service for the end of Shabbat (the Sabbath). So if you're more familiar with Christianity, think about it as cancelling the evening mass or prayer service on a Sunday because your life may be in danger if you hold it.

And being Jewish is at least as much cultural as it is religious. Just like you can have grown up celebrating Christmas with candy canes and Santa and not be religious, you can grow up celebrating Passover with a seder and an Elijah cup and not be religious. Your cultural assumptions about the world will still differ because of your framework.

There is an immense richness of tradition there. And also plenty of regular people. Ones like 14 year old girls who, even though they are now "adults" in the community because they've had their bat mitvot, still play with the cat and giggle and take selfies and have to be told that no, you can't wear five inch heels.

So... compassion. My suggestion is to go out and find a Jewish colleague or neighbor and talk to them, or stop at a synagogue and ask to chat with a member. Listen to some of their traditions -- ask about how they celebrate the Sabbath, what the High Holy Days are, why Yom Kippur is not a day to say Happy Holidays, and what it means to remove the Torahs from a synagogue to protect them. Ask about the first prayer children learn. Ask how they do, or don't, honor their own traditions. Compare notes. Go to a service. You won't understand a lot of it because all the prayers and readings are in Hebrew. It's still worth going. Sit down with them afterwards for the oneg (essentially, a snack or lunch after services, because if you're Jewish, food is always involved). If you get a chance, look at a Torah. They are spectacularly beautiful -- hand-inked and illuminated, and written on a huge long role of parchment. Ask what a Holocaust Torah is, and if you get to see one, try not to cry when they tell you its story.

And then do it again. It doesn't have to be a huge deal all at once. The important part is the connection.

ThyPeace, America. Complicated, beautiful, ugly America. Opening our eyes to all of it is hard. Opening our eyes to one person at a time is easier.
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