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The Tragedy in Toulouse

The Tragedy in Toulouse

Finding Our Voice

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How do you break the news to someone that she just lost her husband and their two young sons? How do you deal with such news?

Was she sipping her morning coffee when her phone rang or a neighbor knocked on the door? Was she cleaning the house for Passover, or already out for the day? Where was Mrs. Sandler when they told her that her 30-year-old husband and three- and six-year-olds were gunned down?

There are no words to express the pain and sorrow that pour forth from the families of the four precious lives stolen today

Losing a loved one is always tragic. Losing your children and husband to a coldblooded murderer, who shot them point-blank as they stood outside a Jewish school, is unbearable.

There are no words. There are no words to express the pain and sorrow that pour forth from the families of the four precious lives stolen today. Right now, there are other victims fighting for their lives and in desperate need of recovery. And for those who weren’t physically hurt, the trauma the school children have suffered is unimaginable, and the entire Jewish community is reeling in shock.

And shock breeds silence. This is actually one of the reasons that in the Jewish tradition the first meal for a mourner consists of a hard-boiled egg, for a mourner has no mouth. This is also one of the reasons that when coming to comfort the mourner, it is only when the mourner chooses to speak and begins the conversation that it is proper to talk. If mourners prefer silence, silent it remains.

And yet, may we actually say nothing? Might we allow innocent people to be murdered and not make our voices heard?

Our brothers and sisters in France cannot speak. Their voice has been taken from them. For now.

While they mourn, we must speak for them

While they mourn, we must speak for them. We must let the world know that we are not going anywhere, and our voices will only get louder the more others try to quiet us. This terrorist and those supporting him succeeded in causing great pain. They caused a huge loss to families and friends, a community and the entire Jewish world. But they have not and will not destroy us.

Throughout our history they have been trying to destroy us. We are two weeks away from the holiday of Pesach (Passover), when we recount the horrific conditions of an enslavement that captured the mind, body and soul. We were tortured and killed. And yet we survived. We spend the Passover Seder not only recalling the suffering, but also proclaiming the redemption that followed.

As slaves, we had no voice. We were silenced. But it is interesting to note how an interpretation of the word for Passover itself, Pesach, is that of “a speaking voice,” for peh means “mouth” and sach means “speaking.” On Passover we reclaim our voices.

Today we mourn. Today we cry. But we also must speak. We must speak for those who can’t. We must speak for those who won’t. And we must speak to ensure that we will never be silenced.


Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the co-director of Interinclusion, a nonprofit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org, and wrote the popular weekly blog Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Andrew Brisbane April 7, 2012

Beautiful Article Thank you for writing this article Sarah. Very moving and uplifting in light of such a horrific tragedy. We send all our love to the family. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA March 27, 2012

G-d bless you, Yousef from Saudi Arabia. You have much courage to express such deep love from your heart for Jewish people. Thank you. Reply

yousef sakaka, Saudi Arabia March 27, 2012

tragedy in TOULOUSE. My tears,my smpathy to the family of the victims and to all Jewish all over the world.
through the history of man kind G-D will be with you,and you will prevail over the nations in particular,those who hate you and want to destroy you. Reply

Anonymous Redondo Beach, CA via chabadsb.org March 26, 2012

Sarah's key As much as I love the French language and Paris, I can't forget how the French Police rounded up their Jewish citizens in 1942 under the most barbaric conditions and delivered them to the Germans. Why people have to be so hateful and never learn from the lessons of history? We built monuments to..help us remember wrong doings, which we quickly forget and allow new awful things to happen to our people. Jews now have a shield with the state of Israel & will defend themselves, but we will never raise a fist or a hand to someone who doesn't believe in G-d the way we do. Please, let's have PEACE on earth while there is still time. Reply

Shirley Levitt Cape Town, South Africa March 26, 2012

Tragedy I am writing from Cape Town to express y deepest condolences to all who have lost their beloved ones in this terrible tragedy.
Posted by Shirley Levitt South Africa Reply

Harry Case Citrus Heights, CA March 25, 2012

My Prayers of Support As a Christian, I am appalled and saddened by the horrible tragedy visited upon this wonderful family by an uspeakably evil terrorist. (May his name be blotted out.) I will attend a synagogue next Shabbat to stand for the victims during Kaddish and will keep this family in my prayers. I stand in support of my older brothers, the Jewish people, both now and in the future.

Shalom Reply

Norman F Birnberg Salida, CO/USA March 25, 2012

The Life Of The Jewish People Israel remains the shield of the Jewish people.

Jews have a collective voice today to speak out in the face of persecution and unspeakable evil.

G-d already executed justice on the murderer may his name be blotted out! But the work of bringing light to the world remains and it will continue!

The life of the Jewish people in their land will be never be extinguished and as we saw in the past week, the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty in Israel was the will of G-d!

Its time to stop all talk of what divides Jews and remember the enemy hates all Jews no matter where they are. We have a duty to support our brethren abroad and in Israel.

And through our efforts, may it hasten the coming of Moshiach and the restoration of the Temple!

Norman F Birnberg Reply

Chana bronx, ny/usa March 24, 2012

The tragedy in Toulouse Why has there been so little out cry from our leaders?
We should be rallying, shouting, in the media, not quietly like sheep. Let them hear that they can't do this to us. Reply

John W. Cassell Rio Rancho, NM March 24, 2012

Toulouse yes, the Jewish People in this present world of persecution must continue to prod the consciences of us all. G-d bless. Reply

Yossi Mondelli Pantin, France March 24, 2012

Toulouse Tragedy. May Hashem bless and support the widow and the family.
What a sadness; a family destroyed as consequence of hate, still teached by some ignorants without arguments. Reply

Janet Kirn Denver, Colorado March 24, 2012

We will be praying for this precious family and want you to know that we love you and will work to spread the love of G-d in this troubled world. A Christian fellow-so-journer. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA March 24, 2012

My heart is breaking. It feels as if we are all feeling this loss as if it were our own family members; particularly since we are still mourning the holocaust victims. It is hard to move on when these attacks keep repeating. What was the update on the shooter? I don't remember reading what happened to him or what was his story? Was he a Nazi? Reply

Sientje Seinen chilliwack , Canada March 24, 2012

Psalm 25 1-2 Lord for you my soul is longing
O my G-d in you I trust
Do not let my foes disgrace me
stio the taunts of the unjust
All whose hope is in your Name
You will honour with your blessing
Traitors you will put to shame
Those without excuse transgressing

Show your paths to me your servant
And direct me in your ways
Lead me in your truth and teach me
guide and keep me all my days
Lord I know your Word is true
And with eager expectation
All day long I hope in you
As the G-d of my salvation.

My deepest sympathy to the family and all the Jewish people. G-d bless Reply

Michael Ackerley Auckland, NZ March 24, 2012

Our loved Ones... Our Father of mercy, please comfort those who have lost their loved Ones. We know these days of exile will soon end and we shall see you face to face. Please accept our love, as we turn to comfort those in such need.. our words are inadequate, but your love goes on forever. Reply

Anthony Berlein Nelspruit, South Africa March 24, 2012

Incomprehensible Tragedy What a terrible tragedy this is. May G-d comfort the families of the victims. The Children of Israel will never be destroyed. They bring the light of Torah to an otherwise dark world. There will come a time when all the nations will crave to study Torah and then the realization of how great the senselessness of millennia of persecution against the Children of Israel will be reality to those that persued it. May Mosiach come today and may Israel forever be blessed. Reply

Anonymous Redondo Beach, CA via chabadsb.org March 24, 2012

To Rebbetzin Sandler Your letter shows the dignity, courage and beauty of your soul. I along with so many around the world, are together in mourning the loss of your family. May G-d keep you and your little girl safe. You are in my thoughts and prayers. You are not alone. Reply

freddy et brigitte los angeled, ca via ChabadLosFeliz.org March 23, 2012

Les dessins d' H M ne sont pas de dimantion humain .... Les enfant sont les gardiens de notre thora . Reply

Martha Bogotá, Colombia March 23, 2012

Toulouse This is tragedy.!!!
I am sorry very much.
I'll light a candle for all.
Martha Reply

Frantz Reading, PA March 23, 2012

BD"E May the Eternal One, B"H, comfort the families and friends of the victims of this tragic event of terroro and violence. May the hope of resurrection and the knowledge of the Almighty gives peace in this time of sorrow. There are no words I could ever say that could take away the pain, but just trust in the L-D. All we can do is cry with them. May this Erev Shabbat be a time of reflection and prayer especially on behalf of our brethren and sisters that mourn the departure from among us of their beloved ones. Let us remember them as we recite the Kadish.
Shabbat shalom Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma March 23, 2012

Tragedy I avoid the papers, and I avoid the news, because there is such heartbreak, and this is beyond heartbreaking, and I could lose my religion over such loss, of my own children. I would entreat G_d for answers. As we all do. Because such heartbreak has been going on for too long, and such insanity, such cruelty, as in the killing of total innocents. So many tears. So much bitter. So much MARA. As in Maror.

I read Mrs. Sandler's amazing, soulfull words, and what can anyone say, in the face of such despairing loss. A husband, two beautiful children, and others, and for what? For what purprose under heaven and earth. What could justify such bloodhshed.

So I go to the WALL, to Jerusalem, daily, and I ask, why such pain. Why these children? Why any children? Why a husband? Why?

I think those of faith have to hold their hearts in their hands, and go to the WALL, because Jerusalem, Israel, this entire story, OUR story, is fraught with weeping.

Passover is about deliverance. We stand, ready. Reply

What's the latest news? For that information, check your local or national news outlet. In this blog we will discuss the "why?"

Not "why did this event occur?" but "why did I find out about it?" There must be a reason. It must contain a lesson I can use to better myself and my surroundings. Together we will find the lessons...
Sara Esther CrispeSara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the co-director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org, and wrote the popular weekly blog Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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