London sadly experienced another terrorist attack last night, the third in the United Kingdom since March.  As a city, we are mourning for life lost, and our prayers are with everyone whose life was affected, as well as the police, paramedics and other first responders who bravely responded.

After Westminster and Manchester, and now London Bridge, there is  worry about whether or not we are entering into a new normal. Terrorism takes innocent lives, but its real aim is to create terror and fear.   That is why, for me, the old phrase, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” still resonates.  I’ll carry on going into central London when I want to and living my life as I have before.  But I also see “carry on” in another sense.  I’ll carry on with my values, including and especially, valuing and respecting the diversity of our city.  I’ll carry on believing in the importance of the twin commandments of the Torah, “Love your neighbour as yourself” and “Love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt”.  I won’t let terrorism change me or change what I value.

The London that I know and love is not defined by terrorism, but rather by the kind, caring and courageous people who after tragedy work to provide help and bring the city together in solidarity.  May we be counted amongst those committed to that solidarity.

The prophet Jeremiah said, “”Seek out the peace of the city where I cause you to roam and pray for her sake to the Eternal God, for in her peace you all will have peace.”    May God who makes peace on high, bring peace to our city.

L’shalom, to peace,

Rabbi Jason Holtz