JCC: We Stand With You

Hate CrimesBigotry is ugly.

Hate crimes are intolerable.

The fact that it happened in Los Gatos is unthinkable, but it did.

Today the much beloved Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos was the target of a bomb threat.  This kind of hateful aggression has been unleashed throughout the country ever since the presidential election. (I usually avoid political talk, but we cannot ignore the fact that there is a movement of this kind of thing  over just the last few months.) What gives nasty people the idea that it’s OK to desecrate religious centers or cemeteries or houses of worship, whether Jewish, Muslim, or anything else?

I’m grateful that no one was physically harmed in today’s threat.  But I cannot say that the JCC members or members of the greater Los Gatos community are “fine”.   There’s nothing fine about what happened today here in Silicon Valley  – or where it has been happening anywhere in the U.S., for that matter.

I want to support the JCC, my Jewish friends, clients, co-workers, and fellow community members.   I want to scream “this is not acceptable” and “this is not who we are as a community“.   I want to hug JCC members and tell them that what happened does not represent this multi-faith, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Los Gatos – San Jose – Silicon Valley community.  I want to apologize to those targeted and I want to affirm that we value each and every life here.

Somewhere, there’s a coward gloating that he or she created chaos and havoc, forced an evacuation, and relished in acting as a sick puppeteer, making others scramble.     I hope that the police track that person down and that justice will be served in this case and in every case around the country.

Bomb threats are not funny. It’s personal to me. My family endured one when I was about 13 or 14 years old.   We had the state police guarding us, and I remember them walking the property (an acre in Saratoga that backed up to a horse ranch on one side and an orchard on another). They taught my parents a few tricks to see if their cars had been tampered with.  We hid out in hotels for two or three nights until the risk passed. My grandmother Pope was visiting from the east coast, and I remember walking past her room as she was privately praying on her knees for our safety and peace.  No family, and no community, should have to endure that abuse.

I’m a Roman Catholic (with a name like mine, what would you expect?) and I have studied religions and theology.  Hate is not a part of any healthy religious expression. The threats, the nastiness are the result of a sickness of mind and soul.   I will pray for conversion and healing on the part of these evil doers. And I pray that they are caught and brought to justice.  I will pray for healing in our community and in our country.

I am not sure what I can do, as a lone individual, to combat what happened here today or has happened elsewhere recently.  But I can express my outrage here.  I plan to send a donation to the JCC as a symbol that my family and I stand with them.   I am shaken and feel like I am in a bit of shock and mourning.  This is not my America, my Bay Area, my Los Gatos.  This will not define who we are.

JCC, we stand with you.  Know that you and your members are treasured by the Los Gatos community.