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Opinion

Thoughts on Pittsburgh

October 31, 2018

St. Louis, Missouri, United States

I am sick to my stomach.

How could a man walk into a synagogue and slaughter my people? How could anyone do this to another human being? I am not a resident of Pittsburgh. I was not in that synagogue. I know my family is safe. But when I see the headlines “11 dead, several others wounded at Pittsburgh synagogue” or “Suspect in Pittsburgh shooting spree that left 11 dead hit with charges, as thousands gather for vigil,” I know that I have lost a greater part of myself.

Through my own experiences with loss, I know in the coming week, month, year, and every year from now, the lives of hundreds of good, innocent people will be marred and scarred by the atrocity committed in their home. That they will become objects of someone else’s pity and their truths will be blurred by the ideas and agendas of others. And I know that these people have not asked to become symbols of the most contentious debate in America, but I have absolute faith in the ability of the Jewish people to settle that debate on their behalf.

For our entire history we have been beaten down and abused. From the ancient peoples to unfortunately the modern ones, we have been hurt by many people throughout history. Yet every time we get up stronger. We stand up, push back against the relentless forces of hatred, and say, “We demand justice!” My people, this is the next disaster to befall us. Eleven lives lost in a shul in Pittsburgh is not the first tragedy in a new breed of anti-semitism, but it will be the last. We no longer have the luxury to sit in the shadows asking that someone fix our problems, but we must unite in this moment and take action.

As our Torah says, “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof.” Justice, justice you shall pursue, and so pursue justice we must.

Pursue it in the streets of your towns. Pursue it in the halls of your schools. Pursue it in giving your money or your time. Pursue it in letters to influential figures and on the floors of your legislatures. Pursue it in reaching out to friends and being closer to your family. Pursue justice for the eleven lives we lost this Shabbat and for the millions in our past.

May their memories be a blessing to us all and may God bless America.

Glenn Randall is an Aleph from formerly Naples, FL, now St. Louis, MO, and has once held an alligator.

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