Dear Rachel and Rebecca,

I am reading and re-reading your words and wondering whether I have any of my own to share.

Rachel, a couple months ago, you wrote a touching essay about your Jewish journey, incorporating ritual observance into your life even when the environment around you didn't make it easy.

Maybe it was being far away from home that made me miss lighting the candles every Friday, which were not even allowed in my dorm. Or maybe it was the need to find what I stood for when everyone else seemed to already have it figured out.

Rebecca, a couple days ago, you wrote:

Hi, my name is Rebecca Lanis, and on September 11, 2022, I lost my mother, father, and dog in a fatal shooting perpetrated by my father. My older sister, who is just 25 years old, was seriously wounded and remains in the hospital. She was shot in the spine, and the back of her legs, and doctors are unsure if she will ever be able to walk again.

Rebecca, I made a donation to the GoFundMe in hopes of supporting you and your sister. I was not surprised, scrolling through the other 500 donors, to see so many familiar names and so many multiples of 18.

My heart feels so heavy. I imagine that understanding your trauma is beyond the bounds of empathy. I hope you can find your own serenity in your own time. To accept the things you cannot change, even if they are beyond what you could have possibly imagined, and courage to change the things you can.

I won't speculate about how you are processing this or about what was swirling around in your dad's mind or about your mom's dreams for you. But I will observe that you are part of this community. We started Nu?Detroit so members of our community could share – in their own words and in their own time – experiences and reflections that could help foster empathy in others. If it could help your healing process to educate us on your work to accept the things you cannot change and to change the things you cannot accept, we would be humbled to share your words.

For now, I hope you can rest over shabbos, mourn your loss and find whatever meaning you seek in the holy days ahead.