Yesterday, hundreds of people gave a standing ovation for Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein after he stood up, his hand still bandaged, to eulogize the woman murdered in Saturday’s shooting attack, Lori Gilbert Kaye, whom he had known for 25 years:
“This is our response, a fully-packed synagogue. The outpouring of love we have received from all over the world has created an amazing unity.
“There are no adequate words to describe what we all endured in this room this past Shabbos. When the shooting took place, I was preparing to read the haftorah in which the prophet prophesies how, in the Messianic era, the dead will return to life and the world will see better and greater times.
“The Lubavitcher Rebbe set off on a mission in 1950, we were going to recover from the dark days of the Holocaust and usher in an era of redemption. It’s been rather a long journey since then.
“This Chabad House was built because Lori worked for Wells Fargo Bank and she helped us secure a loan to build this beautiful building. This is a house that was open to all with love, warmth, and joy. Lori set the foundation stone.
“Lori and her husband Howard and daughter Hanna and I have been through a lot over the years; we’ve had a long journey together. This wasn’t something we expected to be part of the journey. Life here at Chabad Poway has been changed in a way that was, until this past Shabbat morning, unimaginable. But we learned from our Rebbe that events like this don’t impact us in a negative way, but rather in a most positive way.
“I was walking out of my home today, and my wonderful Rebbetzin Devori, my partner in shlichus for the last 33 years, showed me a bouquet of flowers that Lori delivered to our house before the holiday this past weekend. Lori left a note with the flowers that read: ‘Wishing you a beautiful Shabbos! In loving memory of your father, Mel,’ who recently passed away. ‘His memory is a blessing. Love, Lori, Hanna, and Howard.’ That note, that was Lori. There’s a big garden out there, God took the rose of the garden. and he brought her up to Heaven.
“So the question is, where do we go from here? We’ve seen the darkness of humanity, I saw it face to face. I hope nobody ever has to see it ever again. At the same time, on Saturday morning, we also saw the best of humanity, people running into the line of fire in order to save another life.
“This event isn’t going to knock us down, it’s going to lift us up. In all my interviews after the shooting, I was asked, ‘So rabbi, when will you be reopening for services?’ And I told them, ‘Tomorrow morning! We don’t go down for one moment. No terrorist, no murderer, no evil is going to shut us down.
“Lori, Howard, and Hanna had a very special relationship with my late father. Lori’s daughter, Hanna, used to call him ‘The Alter Rebbe.’ My father spent his last 15 years here. It was on Shabbos in the same lobby where Lori passed that my father had his fatal stroke.
“Years ago, my father composed a song, ‘Hashem is here, Hashem is there, Hashem is everywhere.’ And he would point with his finger, and say, ‘Hashem is here, Hashem is there, Hashem is everywhere.’ The finger that was taken from me this past Saturday has been given to every one of you. So you can point, and realize, Hashem is here, Hashem is there, Hashem is everywhere.
“Hashem, the Lord Almighty, cried with us as we cried this Saturday. Hashem is comforting us and consoling us as we are recovering from this. The Jewish people has learned over our long and difficult history to transform one step backward into ten steps forward. We will continue growing, thriving, building, and continuing our mission to bring light and peace into the world, and to make this world a greater place, a dwelling place for G-d Almighty, until the coming of Moshiach, speedily and in our days, Amen!”
Transcribed by JewishMOM.com