Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Hate at home

Artwork Credit: Chris Preksta

On Saturday morning a deranged man walked into a synagogue and shot 11 souls to death.  He also shot and wounded two other members of the congregation.  They were targeted because of their religion and murdered in their house of worship.  Four police officers were also shot and wounded in the response.  Make no mistake, this horrific massacre was a hate crime.

This time it happened in my city.  At a synagogue I've driven by hundreds of times, each time admiring the stained glass windows.  In a neighborhood where many friends and colleagues and students live.  In a community where I work with several different schools, including the one right across the street.  Squirrel Hil is my favorite neighborhood in the city.

I don't know any of the victims.  I wasn't anywhere near Squirrel Hill when it happened.  While I intend to pay my respects at the memorial, I don't want to cause more traffic or congestion in a dense neighborhood as the funerals for the victims take place.  This is about them, not about me.  Sometime next week, maybe.

To say it's rocked the Jewish community in Pittsburgh is an understatement.  I'd even go as far as to say it's rocked the Jewish community in the entire US.  It's rocked Pittsburgh to its core.  It's rocked me too.  But Pittsburgh is strong, and this city will prevail in the face of hate, all while surrounding the Jewish community with love.

I don't know what to say.  If a place for worship is not safe, then where is safe?  I can never wrap my head around mass shootings and the senseless loss of life that comes with them.  But this time it's more personal because it happened in the city I call home.


  1. I hate what these hate crimes are doing to communities. The impact is often not fully understood until years later. I hate that our leadership is so broken that they promote these crimes and then refuse to take responsibility. And I hate that you have to live with this.

    Hate is a symptom of a failed system. We are so broken as a country right now it's beyond scary. Change is beyond needed and that includes removing people who promote fear and hatred for their own gain.

    Sending love to you and everyone in Pittsburg

  2. It's horrific. I will never understand what could possibly possess someone to do something so awful. I wish we lived in a world without so much hate towards others who are different.

  3. All gun violence is senseless and horrible -- but attacking people at their place of worship has to be the lowest of the low. :( No place is sacred these days, it seems. :( I knew you lived in/around Pittsburgh; I did not know you were so familiar with that neighbourhood.

    I must say, I was impressed by the mayor of Pittsburgh when I saw him speak on TV. Unlike (cough cough) SOME leaders, he said all the right things and struck the exact right tone. And the headline on today's Pittburgh newspaper -- the opening line of the Kaddish -- warmed my heart. <3

  4. I am so sorry that this hits so close to home. It is horrific. So many places that you would think would be safe and sacred are simply not to those who would use weapons to end many lives. And the hate crime piece just amplifies the horror. And every life is sacred, but the number of people who were older was incredibly upsetting too -- to live your whole life and then have it end in your place of worship by a hateful, evil person is just unfathomable. Sending you love, and hoping that this violence seems there is a new tragedy way too often.

  5. I was thinking of you when I heard of this. It is extraordinary that these things keep happening, and extraordinary to me that people have such hate in their hearts that they do these things. Sending hugs from afar.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.