Statement in Response to Beating Death in Summit

“Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor (Lev.19:16).” Sadly, these words from our common heritage must be spoken in the City of Summit today for the blood of one of our neighbors, Abelino Mazeriego, has been spilled.  We applaud the Summit Police Department for quickly apprehending the suspected killers.  As people of faith, we cannot – and we will not – stand idly in response to this horrible crime.

First and foremost, we pray for Mr. Mazeriego’s family.  His wife and four children have suffered a terrible loss.  We hope that they find comfort in their faith tradition.  Further, we hope that the Summit community that we have come to know will step up in support of this grieving family when given the opportunity.

Secondly, we pray for the youth of this community.  We cannot know what prompted the perpetrators of this crime to act as they did.  We hope that they experience justice followed by some measure of healing.  More than that, though, we pray that the young people of our community will not be held collectively responsible for this reprehensible act.  We hope that young people in pain and crisis will reach out to parents, counselors, teachers and clergy rather than act out.  We want our young people to know that there are many resources available for them in our community.

Lastly, we pray for the City of Summit.  This sacred space that we call home has been violated and defiled.  We must begin the difficult task of reclaiming and rededicating our home.  We must make it clear to citizens and visitors alike that we do not tolerate this kind of violence and that the streets of Summit are – and will continue to be – safe for all of us.

Regardless of race, gender, faith, country of origin or any other defining characteristic, we have all lost one of our own – a fellow citizen of Summit.  Let us all take comfort from one another and draw strength from one another for as the prophet Malachi said, “Have we not all one Creator? Has not one God created us? (Mal. 2:10).”

About Rabbi Avi Friedman

I am the rabbi of Congregation Ohr Shalom - SJCC, a progressive Conservative and traditional congregation. I am also husband to Jodi as well as father to Gabi, Jonah, Jessica and Ilana. I have been a part of the Summit community since 2005.
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