Followers of many faiths come together to mourn Sandy Hook shootings
Published: Sunday, January 6, 2013
Updated: Sunday, January 6, 2013 22:01
“This was a gruesome, horrible calamity no matter when it would happen, but there’s something even more sorrowful when it happens on the eve of a special moment in human celebration,” Zola said.
President Obama appointed Zola in 2011 to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. As a Jewish historian, Zola’s message for how to deal with the loss of loved ones is to preserve their memories.
“How Jews have handled the tragedies and sorrows and given them meaning is through remembrance, by liturgically memorializing the past,” Zola said.
Zola said a significant part of Sandy Hook remembrance is through the attention to people who are mentally disturbed and the assurance that guns in our society are handled safely.
“I don’t know many people who would like to nullify the Second Amendment,” Zola said. “But we have a societal problem that certainly involves mental illness [and] the sale and availability of weaponry.”
Zola commented on the statements of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee that the removal of God from public schools correlates with the increase in school shootings.
“I cannot align myself with the idea that the reason these things are happening is we are not in touch with God enough,” Zola said. “People can be attuned to an ethical [and] spiritual direction in ways that go beyond theological consideration.”
Adherents of all religious traditions stood side by side at the vigil, lighting their neighbor’s candle and silently uniting in mourning.
“It’s almost uniquely American that we can all come together and, from a pluralistic view, we can show how we’re all pursuing the same end,” Zola said. “That is the best of America.”