Tag Archives: Orlando

Gun rights 

A week after Orlando, Republicans protect terrorists’ right to bear arms

I can’t side with the Democrats on this one. The Second Amendment is a bad idea. But the terrorist watch list has many false positives — people on the list who aren’t terrorists. Rights should not be denied to American citizens or visitors without due process, even if those are rights people shouldn’t have in the first place.

Some mechanism to set up an expedited court order would be a better way to go.

[Dana Milbank/The Washington Post]

Performing a Mitzvah

What happened when an Orthodox Jewish congregation went to a gay bar to mourn Orlando

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld/The Washington Post:

I had not been to a bar in more than 20 years. And I had never been to a gay bar. Someone in the congregation told me about a bar called the Fireplace, so I announced that as our destination. Afterward, I found out it was predominantly frequented by gay African Americans.

Approximately a dozen of us, wearing our kippot, or yarmulkes, went down as soon as the holiday ended. Some of the members of our group are gay, but most are not. We did not know what to expect. As we gathered outside, we saw one large, drunk man talking loudly and wildly. I wondered whether we were in the right place. Then my mother, who was with me, went up to a man who was standing on the side of the building. She told him why we were there. He broke down in tears and told us his cousin was killed at Pulse. He embraced us and invited us into the Fireplace.

We didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out that we had so much in common. We met everyone in the bar. One of the patrons told me that his stepchildren were actually bar-mitzvahed in our congregation. Another one asked for my card so that his church could come and visit. The bartender shut off all of the music in the room, and the crowd became silent as we offered words of prayer and healing. My co-clergy Maharat Ruth Friedman shared a blessing related to the holiday of Shavuot, and she lit memorial candles on the bar ledge. Then everyone in the bar put their hands around each other’s shoulders, and we sang soulful tunes. After that, one of our congregants bought a round of beer for the whole bar.

Everyone in the bar embraced each other. It was powerful and moving and real and raw.


I don’t have the stomach to jump in with posts about the Orlando tragedy, other than this one. I can’t bring myself to point out the hateful bigots celebrating it, or to comment on Donald Trump’s ignorant and ridiculous reaction to it.

Those poor people.