We were targeted and shot at, and some of us were killed.
Some survived, most of us grateful for the training we had received from security expert Brad Orsini, now with Secure Community Network, whose work we absolutely recommend. Gentle reader, wherever you live, whatever you do, please get yourself trained against potential threats!
But “survival” is the bare minimum desirable outcome, describing our bodies functioning and/or patched together, our families torn apart, our friends gone, and varying degrees of distress among all.
My first inclination and my ongoing mission has been to speak out.
A community, a people, a nation, a world suffers at every such murder spree perpetrated. So we go beyond the suffering.
We – a group of us – made a film, A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting, streaming on HBO Max, with acclaimed filmmaker Trish Adlesic.
We documented our lives, we codified our story.
We are Jews, this is what we do. We tell our tale directly, and offer it for interpretation. We ask you to go forward with us.
Our people so long ago were handed – entrusted with – the Torah, a set of rules which I think mandates that we go so much farther than only keeping kosher, praying, observing holidays, staying among our own.
We are dispersed around the world, making connections with others, for a reason – and I believe the reason is to build and strengthen those connections, find our common humanity, appreciate each other in good times and bad, and together tend the earth.
Jews have been irrationally reviled since Exodus 1:8. We know that hatred by demographics is wrong. We need to work at getting ahead of it, not only for ourselves.
When we participate together with more than just the Jewish community, when we act, when we reach out to each other in friendship, when we get rid of the indifference that plagues the world, we will find that there are more of us who care than of those who hate.
As I say in the film, let’s get out there and actively cause peace to happen.