Pittsburgh is obviously weighing heavily on our hearts today. Our society has rounded a corner into territory both new and old. New because today’s Jewish Americans are not perceived as victims. We are educated, integrated, generous, and shapers of our own destinies. But today’s incident brings out the old – the fear, unqualified hatred, segregation and victimization that occurred for centuries, up to only decades ago. While we, as a tribe, tend to be the leaders of social justice reform, today we are faced with the horror of Anti-Semitism rearing its destructive, hate-filled head.
The Tree of Life Congregation in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh could really have been any congregation or Jewish gathering space. Extremism can happen anywhere. For that reason, we each have to consider our responses and search our own consciences. There will be much commentary in the days to come. How do we present ourselves to our family and friends, our various communities, the media, the country? We don’t have individual answers, but know that there is strength and comfort in the solidarity of collective action, donating to a non-profit fighting selflessly for justice and equality, engaging in quiet, meaningful
conversations, and yes, in voting.
Please follow your hearts in reacting to today’s horrors. If you are moved to join a community event, please do so. Feel free to reply to this group letter with your thoughts and feelings. A Jewish community responds to Anti-Semitism. A Humanist community supports its members here and now, with the values of dignity, integrity and courage.
The Beth Ami Program Committee
Sheila Malcolm, Marti Hirsch, Lenore Kingston, Arlene Gerwin, Claudia Ringel