At the fourth commemoration of the October 27th Shooting, time heals some wounds, but opens others.  How are we different?  While 2019 taught us to turn outward and embrace our neighbors to heal, COVID forced us to introspect and see how we fared on our own or in our small communities.  How can we combine these two lessons and still make an interfaith impact to lessen hatred and antisemitism?

The recent Parkland shooting sentencing was very challenging.  Of course, the Jewish Community, and the American community as a whole is deeply divided on the death penalty.  To a family member of any shooting, the whole concept evokes deep feelings.  Words cannot express how striking and empowering it was when the Emanuel AME Church shooting victims’ families in Charlottesville turned to their Christian faith, in defiance of the shooter, and forgave him. The Parkland families were more divided, but the crass disregard for the lives of the students and teachers by the shooter pulled many into a desire for the death penalty.  I want to trust in the US legal system, but juries are made of people and individuals have a hard time putting ourselves in other’s shoes.

While these shootings were each unique, I can’t help feeling a foreshadowing of the difficulties that our families and the whole American Jewish community will face when the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Shooting trial begins in 2023, almost five years afterwards.  I hope you will join me as I share my personal thoughts as it approaches, exploring Jewish views on the death penalty, the public vs. private challenges to healing in mass shootings (including reviews of the Tree of Life movies and documentaries) and just sharing general considerations.

Planning for 2 for Seder 2023

Now more than ever, I feel 2 for Seder has relevance, both to empower our Jewish Community and proactively bring our Americans and Canadian neighbors of different faiths closer together with us. Our team is planning on the traditional 2 for Seder at our homes in 2023.  In addition, we are working on an exciting in-person pilot program to bring folks together locally in one or two locations and hope to have an announcement before the end of the year.  If you live in Pittsburgh or the DC area, we may have some volunteer opportunities to help make this a reality – and we hope you will stand with us.

Thank you for being part of this journey.