When a long anticipated hockey game is cancelled in Canada, you know something is very wrong.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, was very wrong in Ottawa, with reverberations across Canada, indeed across the world.
What police have now confirmed was a lone gunman shot and killed an unarmed soldier manning the War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, the nation’s capital.
From there, he went to Parliament, on a mad rush to the House of Commons, with intent to kill as many as he could. Thank God, he was shot by the Sergeant-at-Arms.
One precious young life snuffed out, an entire city overcome, an entire country in shock.
Only the naïve thought that it could never happen in Canada. It is too early to know all the details of how and why this happened, but it is clear that this single event, coming on the heels of another such incident a few days earlier in Quebec, where another Canadian soldier was killed, has left the country traumatized.
We are aware of the terrorist forces that are hell bent on wreaking havoc and murdering innocents. The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, and the leaders of the other parties were all clear and unyielding in affirming that Canada will not allow these evil doers to change who we are.
But it is clear that the relatively easy access that the public has to the historic Parliament Buildings will need to be modified, to say the least. Beefed up security (not a bad thing) will certainly be one of the outcomes of this tragedy.
The Jewish community, very much a part of Canada’s fabric, is understandably concerned. Those who are maniacal about killing Canadians are even more maniacal about killing Jews. Security at all Jewish institutions has been significantly increased. The law enforcement agencies continue to offer the needed protection for the community.
And the community, obviously very concerned, is nevertheless resolute about moving forward confident in the knowledge that the Canadian government gets it, knows what it is up against, and is determined to fight this scourge with all it has.
For many, this is the first time they have heard of Ottawa. This is not the way that Ottawa wants to, nor should be remembered. We are a thriving, growing community, in a peaceful city.
We enter this Shabbat Noah, Rosh Hodesh Marheshvan, hoping to take the Mar out, not to let anyone mar the great Shabbat of Unity we are about to celebrate, with more to come. We will remember the fallen as we contemplate our togetherness.
Thank you for all your concern. We sense and appreciate everyone’s care and well-wishes, and invite you to come on up to visit.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.