January 15th, 2011
10:30 AM ET

Giffords' rabbi: 'what really matters in this world: love, justice, truth, and shalom'

From Pamela Sellers, CNN

Members of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's synagogue met Friday night for the first Jewish sabbath services since she was wounded in a shooting attack one week ago that left six people dead and 13 others wounded.

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron of Congregation Chaverim used the occasion to call for the renewal of the Tucson community and to urge members to reject violence and hatred.

"Remember that we are tied to what really matters in this world: love, justice, truth and shalom," Aaron said, wrapping her finger in a long white tassel of her prayer shawl as she spoke.

"Shalom" means "peace" in Hebrew.

Giffords is a member of the congregation, as was Gabriel Zimmerman, the congresswoman's director of community. Both were shot in an attack during a constituent meeting outside a Safeway grocery store on January 8.

Despite being shot in the head at close range, Giffords survived the attack. Zimmerman died, along with a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and three others.

Federal prosecutors have charged 22-year-old Jared Loughner with murder, attempted murder and attempting to kill a member of Congress in the January 8 attack.

More than 100 members of the small Tucson congregation, along with some members of Giffords' family, arrived at the temple Friday night to warm greetings and hugs before the two-hour service.

Aaron told congregants that she had visited Giffords in the hospital just hours earlier, issuing her a new Hebrew name and quietly whispering a prayer meant to bring the "light of healing" to the congresswoman, who remains in critical condition at a Tucson hospital.

She repeated the prayer Friday night.

"This is a week of terrible pain, and terrific loss," Aaron said. "We need to pray that our precious Gabby has a complete return to wholeness."

She also spoke passionately against violence and intolerance, quoting Martin Luther King Jr.

"May we live our lives so that we never have to take up weapons," she said, while praying over the sons of congregants, including her own, whom she specifically called out by name.

Members of the congregation were asked to call for special blessings for the group and the Tucson community.

They called for compassion, empathy, courage, health, safety and the ability to "know our neighbors."

At the end of the service, Aaron praised President Barack Obama for coming to Tucson and delivering a memorial speech for victims of the attack.

"What an incredible mensch he was to do all that and to reach out to our community and to the world," she said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Arizona • Houses of worship • Judaism • United States

soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. shooter

    Hey there, many thanks for revealing your ideas in this post. This is actually a cool website.

    January 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  2. Muneef

    A man of a live conscience is in the straight path of righteous and the straight path of righteous is the path of men of God who love and fear their God most in every decision or action or words been said and committed ....!!
    Man of God and God fearing is what is counted for a man to represent a mixed culture and beliefs nation for which he has to be aware of those cultures and beliefs of those other nations in order to be able to plant respects to become between those mixed cultures and beliefs as such gives the assurance of mutual understanding between the nation with other overseas nations or even with those within the country of mixed cultures and beliefs...!
    Some how it's felt that values,morals,virtues are not there in a secular world only faceless solid lifeless laws of men rather than what has been relayed by Holy books that calls for good deeds and reject bad deeds and to build a faithful societies,communities,nations since communications among nations or even among the nations of mixed cultures and beliefs... Laws or God and universe are to be prepared by some thing that is equivalent to UN but built on nations beliefs to achieve the code of understanding among nations but as can see now it is build on groundless bases if not of words of God to faiths...in addition to those non spiritual secular beliefs to make decisions of faith but at the moment the secular world make and take the decisions while the beliefs and faiths has to pay for it when it becomes a war between all faiths or religions outside your world ,it would become back into your inside among the mixed culture and beliefs of the nation or nations under one country flag...!
    Today's world man has become with no value other than his organs if sold or stolen....so what is happening only proves that we are imposing marketing the wrongs against the rights....cultures and beliefs are going down the drain with all those values, morals,virtues some how turning into commotion among cultures and beliefs turning against each other misunderstanding each other or unaware of cultures way of living and beliefs to ease communication mutual understanding as a nation of mankind and a nation of faiths. As i believe we should not bleach wash cultures and faiths in to one but am with keeping all cultures and faiths which make a colorful painting rather than one blank single colored...!?
    Kindly note speaking about man I mean mankind which means males and females only and not those who are not....!?

    Wa Salam,Peace,Shalom...  

    January 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  3. Muneef

    Birds : A Lesson For You And Me
    by Asma bint Shameem

    January 17, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  4. Muneef

    Some body saId Only Muslims are terrorists ?


    January 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Nothing but Killer Sharks they are those occupying Israel sending people out of their houses,out of their lands,out of their country land...showering people with illegal weapons...killing infants,children,youth,young and elderly women and men mercilessly...what Shalom or peace is that what religion is that what worshippers or pilgrims are those if this was supposed to be a Holy Land..?? Those are no Jews of the Book they are more like Hogs and Pigs that await the day of the ext-ermi-nation upon the landing of The Prophet and Messenger of God Jesus PBUH.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  6. allfaith

    There are some that say that reality (not Reality) is the physical representation of our thoughts, and that through understanding and acceptance of the events in our life our link to the spirit will be cleared. I believe it to be so. If we accept our life and the lessons it offers us without judgement (by the grace of God, if you like) there is no hate, only love, and a deep appreciation of the awesome wonder of everything that is.
    Without separation, with the knowledge that what we see is ourselves, we walk in the light of creation, in the moment, free from illusion.
    I digress, Shalom to all.

    January 16, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  7. Katherine Hall

    With that said, I share with everyone a poem written by my Grandmother Beatrice Hall Whom I miss a great deal.....



    Beatrice Hall 1969

    I walked with them, and I worked with them,

    But they saw me not today;

    I laughed with them and I cried with them,

    But they knew me not today;

    I sat by their side to guard their dreams,

    But they felt me not today;

    My arms reached out to catch an embrace,

    But they kissed me not today;

    My head bent low to hear a whisper of thanks,

    But they talked to me not today;

    My heart cried out-don't you remember me?

    But they knew me not today.

    With tears in my eyes and an aching heart

    I looked for a peaceful face;

    With searching eyes and an anxious heart

    I searched for a happy race;

    With bewildering eyes, and a torn-apart heart

    I looked for just a trace

    of the things that I taught, lest they stray away.

    But I found them not today.

    Awaken my Servants–Let a faint heart flutter.

    Together we'll set things in motion,

    To erase this blight–to create a new sight.

    To fill everyone with peaceful emotion.

    With hands joined together, and hearts full of love.

    We'll guide them to show them the way;

    With a power and strength unheard of yet.

    We'll catch them up in our spiritual net!!!!

    Use every talent, every brain in your head,

    Awaken these souls that are cold and dead;

    Let no weakling be among you,

    For these are perilous hours!

    With dignity and truth we must build our golden towers.

    Then in a jolting way we will turn the tide,

    And the ice will shatter and melt.

    Till you'll not find a head un-bowed, or a knee that has not knelt

    January 16, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  8. Muneef

    It's raining sheep.

    January 16, 2011 at 7:04 am |
  9. Reality

    In conclusion:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will quickly converge these religions into some simple rules of life e.g. Do No Harm. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired. Ditto for houses and classes of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues

    January 16, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  10. Muneef

    إنَّ الـــدُنــْـيــَّـا سـَــاعــَــة .... فـَـاجـْــعـَــلـْـهـَـا طــَــاعــَـــة
    والــنـَـفـْـسُ طــَـمـَّـاعــَــة .... عـَــودْهــَــا الـــقــَـنــَـاعــَــة
    Now good night and enjoy.

    January 15, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  11. Muneef

    An interview with The forced resignation of Helen Thomas !
    She says Prs.H.Truman was awakened at early morning hour and got forced to sign recognition of Israel as a state although same was under dispute at the UN that has now became as past and forgotten!.
    So as it seems Prs are not safe from being imposed upon the Agenda of those Z?
    Same has has been seen happening with Prs.B.Obama when he tried to stop the constructions projects at the occopied land, he was made to bow on his knee , just as Truman was made to do.
    If your country as great country you accepted to hold the scale of international justice for equality and to preserve peace then you shouldn't give one more on account of another there is no place for your national interests and allies interests because when that does happen you are no longer a judge but became more of persecutor with out any fair judgment hearing?
    No wonder your great country became to be made as totally untrusted and targeted by rebels what ever is the term used for such actions ?

    These unjustified acts while taking advantage of being the majority states to apply force and use the Veto rights to serve the Z agenda and propaganda in invading lands and countries wiping out nations and their national wealths.? Above all those wrongful and sinful acts against such nations that communities of which are living in your countries and expect them communities being as Americans to clap their hands in sheers when their own families,relatives and country being under attack or being invaded, no matter how silent and patients, but the date truth prevails and they realize that they were lied at all along then who would be in position to trust words and actions of the country state? Well it seems WikiLeaks has already started to raise doubts and integrity of the policies followed by their leaders..
    It is all about hiding, disguising the truth until it becomes of the past just as that as did that unlawful country was recognized by the USA with out the UN majority vote and UN members were to face the Reality that the USA is taking advantage of her majority states and voting power rather than the majority of  the UN member countries no matter how small or poor they are although at that time the majority of member countries were under occoupation or protection of USA and Allies and after the WW1&2 !

    As told by Helen Thomas Those group were able to pass on their agenda and propaganda by enforcing the belief that their nation is the only victemized nation on this planet earth and all through history old and new, and she added that they like it this way acting as victimized as it makes it easier for them to cross the boarders,blackmailing all those nations. 
    Again she said but if you ever try to defend self or point a finger at or suggest or demand any rights then you are called to be anti-Semitic even if you are Semitic your self but not of Jewish religion ? 

    Then she agrees with the interviewer that those in their acts abuse the whole Jewish nation that is on earth by talking,demanding or imposing acts on the name of Jews although all are opposed to by the majority of them even before it became in to reality. After all the recognition of the unlawful country has caused or forced by terror the wide immigrations of Jews from all over the world in to Israel and those stayed behind were and are still forced to pay an annual share in support of this country's illegal wars and who ever refuses to support will have to face unwanted bad business or accidents ?
    Just after all this time given in writing these comments I hope it would make some understand and would not go waste as we say trying to tickle a camel or as talking to a brick wall? You should understand that your enemy is as well our enemy as have used us both as nations men and resources, to achieve their agenda while using religion and the God given promised land !? While we hear other Jews say holy books mentioned it as being the forbidden land for the Jews and not being the God given promised land as those under the cloth claim?

    Just read some thing said about the scale holders in the our holy book verses;

    Al-Mutaffifin sura 83:
    Woe to those that deal in fr-aud― (1) Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure. (2) But when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due. (3) Do they not think that they will be called to account?― (4) On a Mighty, Day, (5) A Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of the Worlds? (6) Nay! Surely the Record of the Wi-cked is (preserved) in Sijjin (7) And what will explain to thee what Sijjin is? (8) (There is) a Register (fully) inscribed. (9) Woe, that Day, to those that deny― (10) Those that deny the Day of Judgment. (11) And none can deny it but the Tran-sgressor beyond bounds the Sin-ner! (12) When Our Signs are rehear-sed to him, he says "Tales of the Ancients!" (13).

    January 15, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Reality


      And your koranic drivel continues.

      January 16, 2011 at 12:52 am |
  12. Muneef


    January 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  13. Muneef


    January 15, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  14. Muneef


    January 15, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  15. Muneef


    January 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  16. Muneef


    January 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.