As a resident who walks down Borough High Street several times a day and visits Borough Market every week, all my thoughts have been on the horrific attacks.
I am a Londoner and I respect and admire our courage and resilience. This time, we need to find the words that go beyond our wish to carry on as normal. We have to reach out to each other, take a stand, and begin the painful process of recognising the terrible losses our community faces.
I’m not sure we can go back to carrying on as normal – I suspect things can never be the same again. Our neighbours and visitors are bereaved; many lie in hospital. Residents are shaken and traumatised. Judaism, in common with Islam, teaches that one who destroys a life is like someone who has destroyed a whole world. Those people’s lives, and their worlds, are lost.
And while our London world has not been destroyed, it has been changed. We will all be more watchful. I am determined also to watch out for my neighbours. This includes members of the Muslim community, who are as shocked and perplexed as I am. They, too, lack the language to explain this.
The day after the attacks, I joined local faith leaders (left), including those from St George the Martyr Church and Baitul Aziz Mosque, to walk around our community. We saw that we must create security out of common ground, and doing what none of us can do alone.
I’m looking forward to bringing together this group into what we call in Hebrew a chevre (a band of committed companions).Perhaps we can lead the way in treasuring our differences, challenging violence, and using the power of our courage to stand up to those violent extremists who wish to force us to live our lives in fear.
Shulamit Ambalu is rabbi at Kehillah North London