ATID alum, Rabbi Ian Pear, on the appropriate spiritual response to terror:
The day after the horrific bombing that claimed six Jewish lives at Cafe Hillel on Emek Refaim Street in Jerusalem in 2003, Rabbi Ian Pear of Congregation Shir Hadash sent an e-mail to members urging especially spirited prayer that Friday night: "In attacking our neighborhood, I am convinced that the terrorists were not simply trying to score a military victory. They were, I believe, also attempting to wage a spiritual war against all Jews living in Israel," he wrote. "This was not simply a physical attack but also an assault on our spirit; a spiritual response is also required... and that is entirely within our abilities. The terrorists wanted to turn our community into a Jewish cemetery. We must proclaim with all our strength -- and through our tefillah that it is a joyful, soulful place where the exultation of being a part of rebuilding the Jewish nation permeates our very essence. When we do so, we will have frustrated the terrorists' goals."
Our prayer that night in the shul building just a few hundred yards away from Cafe Hillel soared to the heavens, as we found comfort and strength in joining together. The next morning after services, Rabbi Pear led us to the Cafe Hillel site, where we learned a piece of Torah together in memory of the victims, in an effort "to turn the unholy into the holy."