I am reposting this from Instagram, so my apologies if you've read it already, but I felt it was important to post here, too.
Yesterday an unspeakable tragedy happened in my
city. A man filled with hate entered the sacred space of a synagogue and
took 11 innocent lives. My family and loved ones are safe, but we have
friends who have lost people dear to them. And this horrific act has
shattered the sense of safety and acceptance we have always felt in this
Tree of Life is a special place to my entire
family. We were all members there until just a few years ago. It was the
synagogue where I grew up: I received my Hebrew name there, attended
Hebrew and religious school there, was called to the Torah as a bat
mitzvah there, was confirmed there, was married by its rabbi, and gave
my own daughter her Hebrew name there. It has been a rock in my life and
in my community, and I am absolutely devastated by the violence that
occurred there yesterday.
As the news unfolded yesterday, one
thing that kept me from giving into the grief entirely was the sheer
number of people who contacted me to make sure I was safe — friends,
family members who live in other cities, coworkers and former coworkers,
Internet friends I have never met in person, former classmates I
haven’t talked to in many years. In the face of hated against people who
share my beliefs, I was told that I was loved.
I am so grateful for
everyone who checked on me yesterday, for the first responders who
risked their lives yesterday and likely prevented this tragedy from
being much worse, and for the greater Pittsburgh community for coming
together to show Pittsburgh’s Jewish community that we all stand
As these tragedies become more and more frequent, we
are often left feeling helpless. But there is much we can do. If you
know someone who is a member of a targeted group, let them know that you
care for and value them. Give blood if you can. Volunteer for social
justice organizations. Donate to organizations that fight bigotry, like
the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Speak up
against hatred. Vote.
May the One who makes peace in the high heavens make peace for us, for all Israel and all who inhabit the earth. Amen.