Rabbi Stephanie Aaron: Gabrielle Giffords’ Rabbi Speaks Out

CNN’s religion blog, Belief, says Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ Rabbi Stephanie Aaron, spoke about the Tucson shootings which not only wounded one of her congregants, but killed another, Gabriel Zimmerman. Zimmerman, 30, was Congresswoman Giffords’ Director of Community.

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron of Congregation Chaverim used the occasion to call for the renewal of the Tucson community and to urge members to reject violence and hatred.

“Remember that we are tied to what really matters in this world: love, justice, truth and shalom,” Aaron said, wrapping her finger in a long white tassel of her prayer shawl as she spoke.

In a two-hour service Friday night, Aaron called for ‘peace’ (shalom in Hewbrew) and said:

“May we live our lives so that we never have to take up weapons,” she said, while praying over the sons of congregants, including her own, whom she specifically called out by name.

Rabbi Aaron commented that the President is an incredible ‘mensch’ (a person of integrity and honor) “to reach out to our community and the world.

From USA Today from an Interview with the Rabbi:

John Boehner and Gabrielle Giffords

Justice, Justice shall you pursue: — those were the words from the Torah, the five books of Moses — that drew U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords into Jewish life, her rabbi says.

This is where the congresswoman took seriously the Jewish injunction that the world stands on three pillars — prayer, study and good works.

After a soul-stirring trip to Israel, Giffords, the daughter of an interfaith marriage, was moved to define herself as a Jew, says Aaron. The Rabbi describes their meetings to study Jewish teachings in the Bible and commentaries by scholars in the Talmud.

Photo Credit: Jack Kurtz, The Arizona Republic