In a Tucson State of Mind: The Sabbath After the Shooting

I am a native Tucsonan.

While I now have lived more of my life on the East Coast than I did in the desert Southwest where I was born and raised, the familiar mountain backdrop on every television screen, the voices of people I know on the radio, and the images of places that used to be part of my everyday life have eclipsed the snow-covered sidewalks and drowned out the whooshing sounds of speeding subway cars I've come to associate with the word "home."

Despite my personal connection to the Old Pueblo, I know I'm not alone in the feelings of attachment I've experienced to this one town out of thousands in our nation this week. And when the University of Arizona's McKale Center, where I used to root for the basketball Wildcats with my papa and grandma, became a sanctuary Wednesday night, it was a sacred space for the entire country.

It was there that Secretary of Homeland Security and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano offered what, to me, were the most powerful words of the evening. "Comfort, comfort, my people ... " she began, reading a passage from the Book of Isaiah.

In Jewish tradition, that same passage is chanted on Shabbat Nachamu -- the Sabbath of Comfort. The Sabbath of Comfort follows the observance of Tisha b'Av: a day that marks the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

At its heart, Tisha b'Av is a day of senseless loss -- not just of a place, but of a moment that, no matter how hard we try or wish we could make it so, simply cannot be undone.

Last week, whether you called it Saturday or you called it Shabbat, our country's day of rest quickly turned into a day of destruction. And we cannot undo it, no matter how much we wish we could. But we can make this Sabbath, and, if we dedicate ourselves to making it so, the one after that and the one after that, a Sabbath of Comfort.