Tag Archives: Tree Of Life Synagogue

How to Fight Anti-Semitism Book Review

When one has a problem and wants to deal with it, the first step to admit that you have a problem. But one first had to admit that they have a problem, which more often than not is the hardest step.

70+ years after World War II and the Holocaust, the number of antisemitic acts is rising to records that has not been seen in decades.

Earlier this year, journalist Bari Weiss published her new book, How to Fight Anti-Semitism. The book opens with the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Ms. Weiss’s hometown. The main focus of this book is that up until recently, American Jews have felt safe. We live in a nation that guarantees our rights as citizens, that allows us to openly practice our faith. That facade of safety is crumbling to reveal the ugliness of hatred and antisemitism.

Ms. Weiss hits the nail on the head. Not only does she go into detail about antisemitism in history, she also talks about how antisemitism has infiltrated American politics. Not just on the right, as one might assume, but on the left as well.

She forces the reader, regardless of faith or family background, to not look away from the darkness of antisemitism. By looking directly at the darkness, the reader is challenged to fight against antisemitism and ensure that all of us are treated respectfully.

I absolutely recommend it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Politics

Thoughts On the First Anniversary of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

In 2019, we hope that hate and prejudice is a thing of the past. But hope often springs eternal.

This coming Sunday is the first anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. 11 people were murdered simply because they were Jews. It’s nearly a year later and it hurts as if it was yesterday.

I sometimes try to delude myself that because I lived in the United States, this won’t happen to me. I am seen as a complete human being, not just a member of a particular religious or cultural group. But I have to face reality. Antisemitism is on the rise in numbers that has not been seen in generations. I shouldn’t be afraid to wear an outward symbol of my faith out of fear of being abused or attacked. But this is the reality that we all live in.

The shooting was the subject of this week’s Unorthodox episode. It made me feel less alone and less scared. But it also reminded me that I live in a world in which entering a house of worship requires passing by security and police. I wish that this was not the case, but it is.

May the memory of those 11 innocent people killed on that day forever be a blessing and may their blood be avenged.

Z”l.

Leave a comment

Filed under National News, Thoughts On....

80 Years After Kristallnacht, Nothing Has Changed

Attacks like the massacre in the Tree Of Life Synagogue nearly two weeks ago do not happen in a vacuum. They start with words, lies and stereotypes that lead to destruction and murder.

80 years ago tonight, Jewish businesses, home and Synagogues in Germany were ransacked and destroyed during what would later be known as Kristallnacht. 30,000 Jewish men were forced into concentration camps and 91 men were killed.

The excuse for Kristallnacht and the shooting in Pittsburgh two weeks ago is the same. It is hatred of the other, of someone who is different, that leads to events like The Holocaust. It feels like nothing has changed. We have learned nothing in 80 years. We allow hate and prejudice to fester until it becomes mass murder. We allow our politicians to twist the facts until they become lies.

A wise person once said the following:

‘Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”

I guess history will continue to repeat itself until we learn from it.

Leave a comment

Filed under History, International News, National News, Politics, World News

In Spite Of The Hate In This World, There Are Still Good People

The shooting that left 11 people dead in the Tree Of Life Synagogue its Pittsburgh on Saturday morning was a heartbreaking reminder that hate and prejudice still have a place in our society.

But in spite of that hate, there are still people in this world who see past labels and see the person.

Last night, I received a phone call from a former colleague who is Catholic. She expressed her condolences about the shooting. The reaction from my friends (most of whom are not Jewish) on Facebook was nothing but supportive and loving.

Yesterday, there was a story on Mashable that Muslim activists have raised more than $50,000 to help the loved ones of the victims pay for the funerals and to provide financial support to those who are still in the hospital.

Anne Frank lived through and died during the most inhuman period of human history. But even with all of the death, hatred and destruction that was her normal, she never gave up hope about humanity.

I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.

This weekend was extremely hard for myself and many others. But we got through it because we were wrapped in love and support. While we cannot bring back the 11 people who were murdered on Saturday, we can heal. We can live in peace and we can love one another, in spite of our differences.

We only need to open up our hearts.

2 Comments

Filed under National News, Politics

The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Hits Too Close To Home

This morning started off like any morning for the members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. At approximately 10:30 am EST, a gunman walked into the synagogue and killed 8 people with at least 4 more injured in the shooting. He stated the following as a reason for the shooting: All Jews must die.

This shooting hits too close to home for me. Other than attending services on the high holidays (and perhaps for a special occasion), I haven’t attended Saturday morning services regularly since high school. But I come from a Jewish family where attending regular Saturday morning services is a just part of the weekly calendar. I count my blessings that none of my loved ones were in that synagogue, but it also hurts like h*ll.

I am scared, angry and on the verge of tears.  Antisemitism is alive and well in America. The people who were killed were only killed because they are Jewish and happened to attend services at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

This should not be happening in 2018. We should be able to go about our business without being afraid of being killed for who we are. Religious institutions should not need to hire armed guards or security so their members can attend services and feel safe in doing so.

According to news reports, the accused gunmen was found with an AR-15 and a handgun. An AR-15 was also used in the shooting in Las Vegas and Florida.  What will it take for our government to enact reasonable gun control laws? How many will die before we come to our senses?

Of course, you know who sounded Presidential, be we all know that he is part of the problem. His antisemitic dog whistles has allowed those who believe as shooter did that they are right.

This should be classified as a hate crime and if convicted, the shooter should receive the harshest legal penalty possible.

May the memory of those killed be a blessing and may we all see each other first and foremost as human beings.

I am going end this post with Shylock’s speech from The Merchant of Venice. Though this speech was written hundreds of years ago, it feels relevant today.

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.-Act III, scene I

Leave a comment

Filed under National News, William Shakespeare