Hannah Geller
Director of Photography for Emmy-Nominated "Quiet Sundays”

A Matter of When

It was only a matter of when it would happen again.

Six months to the day after the most deadly anti-Semitic attack the US has ever seen, another synagogue shooting happened in America. Today it was in Poway, California. According to recent media updates, a 60-year-old woman was killed and several other victims remain in the hospital.

I’ll always remember when the news broke about Pittsburgh. The uncontrollable crying, the painful confusion, and not knowing if my best friend was dead or alive- these are feelings I don’t wish upon anyone. Not even the shooter.

Tonight, after celebrating Passover at my local Chabad, I felt so relaxed. That is, until I turned on my phone. My jaw dropped.

I was shocked, but not surprised. Was the news sad? Disgusting? Concerning? Of course. However, after Pittsburgh, we all knew that it was not a matter of ‘if,’ but rather, ‘when.’

When will the next one be?

Will it be my synagogue?

Who will shoot the gun?

What would I do?

We all asked ourselves these questions. We prayed they would remain hypothetical.

When tragedy strikes, all labels disappear. It really doesn’t matter who you are. The shooter does not care if you are reform or orthodox. The shooter does not care if you eat bacon before going to services or keep Kosher l’Pesach. The shooter does not care if you are a Holocaust survivor or a newborn baby at a bris.

The shooter only cares that you are a Jew.

However terrible these attacks are, they are an important reminder that we must unify and remain proud. We should forget about the barriers that divide us and, with a similar mentality, only focus on the fact that we are Jewish (or support the Jewish community). So I challenge you to bring more light into the world in the memory of the victims in Pittsburgh and Poway. Let’s sing louder. Let’s smile at strangers. Let’s give charity. Let’s finally put up that mezuzah or wear that Magen David necklace that Bubbie gave us. Because you never know when one good deed today could prevent something terrible from happening in the future.

Pittsburgh Shooting Vigil – Penn State. Photo: Hannah Geller

P.S. A special note to those who use these attacks as a way to push a political agenda — Please stop. We are asking politely. We shouldn’t have to. This is not a matter of politics, it is a reflection of the anti-Semitism that is brewing rapidly and freely in America. We see right through your facade; and your selfish desire to use a tragedy for your own gain is shameful. This particularly applies to well known anti-Semites pretending to suddenly care just for retweets on Twitter. You can’t fool us.

About the Author
Hannah Geller is a senior at Penn State University studying Film and Spanish. She is the Director of Photography for Emmy-Nominated "Quiet Sundays,” spent a semester in Spain, and now interns for KAHAL and ZOA. After graduation she would love to do communications work in the Jewish world, so please hire her. Send serious inquiries (or dog pics) to hgeller120@gmail.com.
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