With Trayvon Martin gone, the question is not whether justice has been served or if George Zimmerman was really guilty. The Jewish question before us is, “How do we prevent another such tragedy from occurring?”
There is no justice to be served here. A seventeen year-old boy is dead. Trayvon Martin’s parents will be forever changed by the death of their son. George Zimmerman will spend the rest of his life knowing he left his home one evening filled with the self-importance of a neighborhood watchman and returned home later that night a murderer. Nothing we can do can change what has happened, we can only hope to change what will happen.
At this time of year, we begin to look toward the High Holidays and we begin the process of preparation. We engage in introspection and self-reflection as we search our souls thinking of our own shortcomings, asking for forgiveness and planning to make the coming year better if only we are so blessed with the precious gift of life. Yet there are other questions we are compelled to ask. We look at the world in which we live and ponder what we can do to make it a better place; to leave a place to our children that is better, safer and more secure than the one we inherited, moved ever slightly closer to repair through our actions. What is our role to make society more civil and more just for everyone? That is our historic mission, the essence of being chosen to receive the extraordinary gift of Torah at Mount Sinai and the real hope for being written into the book of life.