Monday, January 10, 2011

Refuah Sheleimah for Gabrielle Giffords

After not checking my email all weekend, when I opened up my inbox and saw “Giffords Shooting Attack on Us All” from NOW and “Tragedy in Arizona” from EMILY’s List, I got really confused. I had to read the NOW email twice before I finally absorbed the fact that Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizonan representative, was shot and is in critical condition.

This is truly one of the saddest things I have heard in a long time. When Congressperson Giffords was shot, she was outside of a Tucson Safeway, meeting her constituents through her “Congress on Your Corner” campaign. The shooter was a 22-year-old named Jared Lee Loughner. He had two previous offenses, including possession of drug paraphernalia, and dropped out of community college rather than being evaluated for mental health to reenroll. His YouTube channel is filled with disturbing anti-government spite, in addition to listing Mein Kampf and The Community Manifesto as some of his favorite books. He also may have ties to the American Renaissance, an anti-Semitic, far-right magazine.

I have to assume that his attack may have been partially fueled by religion: Giffords’ father was Jewish, her great-grandfather a rabbi. She has identified with the Reform movement since a trip she took to Israel in 2001, attending Tucson’s Congregation Chaverim ever since. She is also a former board member of the Anti-Defamation League.

She was far from the only one harmed in the shooting. Six people were killed, including John Roll, the chief judge for the District Court of Arizona, and a nine-year-old girl named Christina Green. Fourteen others were wounded. Giffords is still in critical condition at the ICU of a Tucson hospital, but her doctors are optimistic about her recovery, as she is responding with high-level brain function to doctors’ prompts. The other surviving victims have been released from the hospital or from the ICU.

Giffords is a moderate Democrat. She served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2001 to 2003, going on to the Arizona Senate. She entered the US Congress in 2007; she just won her third term. She was a part of the Children’s Caucus, a bipartisan attempt to improve education and health care for Arizonan children, and worked with Janet Napolitano to get all-day kindergarten. She also voted in favor of increased funding for stem-cell research. She is pro-choice, with a 2009 100% rating from NARAL. She also supports gun rights…

May she have a refuah sheleimah (full recovery).

May God Who has blessed our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, David, and Solomon, bless and heal Gabrielle on behalf of the merit of our good deeds and the giving of charity. In the merit of this, may the Almighty be filled with mercy to strengthen her, to heal her, to vitalize her. May God speedily send her a complete recovery from Heaven to all her limbs and organs. May she be healed along with all others of the Jewish people requiring healing. May her recovery be immediate and complete.

(As you say the names of the Patriarchs and other male figures in the above brakha (blessing) for a healing for Congressperson Giffords, please keep female figures in mind - Sarah; Rebecca; Bilhah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Leah; Miriam; Elisheba; Abigail; and Bathsheba, respectively. See my article about the concept.)

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