The following excerpts are from messages received at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh that were in response to a news release that the Federation had transferred funds to help the Muslim community of New Zealand heal. The authors’ identifying information of the has been removed.
Through news reports here in New Zealand, I understand that you have donated nearly NZ$1,000,000 to the victims of the Christchurch shootings.
I really don’t know what to say. I live in Auckland and was not directly affected by the shootings. But everyone in New Zealand was affected in some way or other. It hurt us in so many ways and brought tears to the heart and soul of the country. It focused the worlds attention on us, in a way that we have never been exposed before, or wanted to be laid open. It was and remains horrendous and nonsensical.
And then, in a totally magnanimous gesture, you opened your hearts and wallets to the victims. No less than from a Jewish community to a Muslim community! But more importantly from community with a heart and soul to help others in a crisis. A wonderful gesture from some wonderful humans.
Thank you so much for what you have done. Thank you for caring. I hope that the world hears what you have done and many people learn from what you have done.Received: Monday, July 1, 2019 2:59 AM
With aroha (love) te rangimarie (peace) and whakaute (respect).
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Pittsburgh Jewish community for the act of love and humanity that we have been privileged to witness this season. The enormous sum of money that your community has raised for my Muslim neighbours here in Christchurch, New Zealand, will truly make a difference to each one of those in need. But above all, it is the wonderful story of what you have done with the precious gift that you received from your own Muslim neighbors in your hour of suffering that will sustain us all on the deepest level. In multiplying the love that you were shown, and passing it on to my wronged neighbors, you add oil to the lamp that glows and shows that love truly can conquer all. There is much still to do here in my community, but already we, with help from all around the world, have made the work of one terrorist a complete failure. We have roused ourselves to love and protect each other, regardless of difference, and it is my humble pleasure to thank you as my partners in that embrace of love and protection.
For any who have the time and inclination, my friends who are so strong rich in love, there is a project that some of us have been chipping away at, some of us since even before March this year. It is the type of project, I think, which may be easier and safer to complete if we get help from far and wide. It is the move to change the name of our local rugby team from the Crusaders – and that’s why I’m wondering whether some Jews from outside of New Zealand might be interested in helping (there are so very few Jews living here, sadly).
A quick search would show that the idea of changing the name of the Canterbury Crusaders is a polarising one here. But perhaps if a lot more people saw that we don’t just say it’s a bad name because historically crusaders and Muslims were enemies, but rather because the crusaders were responsible for many very egregious atrocities, then it would really be a name that the majority no longer wanted to be associated with.
Anyway, if any among you are interested in making a comment, I personally feel that it could do some good. Our team can be contacted here: https://crusaders.co.nz/about-us/contact-us They are answerable to the national body: http://www.allblacks.com/ Contact Letters to the editor can be submitted to our local paper at this email address: email@example.com.
I doubt that the good work of the world will ever be finished, and I know that it never will be in my time. So let me again thank you for what you have done for my city, and let me express my sincerest best wishes for those in your community who have been affected by hate crime. Truly it is you and I who know true joy and victory, the sort of joy and triumph that can only be felt with love in one’s heart. If we continue to love each other, surely others will come to understand that.Received: Monday, July 1, 2019 9:26 AM