Thoughts About Pittsburgh


CandleI heard about the shooting in Pittsburgh seconds before starting a fun Israel related activity with the teens of BBYO. This inner conflict between having to choose between continuing with the fun or reflecting on the tragedy reminded me of my childhood.

During the second intifada, (the Palestinian uprising of 2000) every time there was an attack on Israel all TV channels would stop their regular programing for a few hours (comedies, dramas and sci-fi shows ) and so that we could, instead, focus on the tragedy at home with our families. 

The day after, we would talk about what happened at school, how many were killed, how many survived, who was the terrorist and who is to blame. We never spoke about how we felt about it. 

I remember feeling angry, angry at the Palestinians, angry at their leaders for encouraging them, angry at the government  for not being able to stop it, angry at the conflict, angry at the TV for not letting me watch my comedies and angry at my people who reacted to a murder with hateful words of their own. 

And I mostly remember not understanding the hate and why someone else’s hate needs to interfere with my own happiness.  At the age of 12, after the suicide bombing, at the  Sabbaro restaurant (2001) I decided that I would not let hate stop me from smiling and that I shouldn’t feel bad for laughing. So,  I met with friends and we tried to laugh but couldn’t. 

On my ride back to Houston I thought about Pittsburgh and how different it is then the terrorist attacks in Israel.  There, they were always part of the greater conflict, part of an ongoing war between two people. This was different; this was an isolated incident of pure hate inside a place of praying and peace. 

Upon returning to Houston, I drove straight to the J where I was amazed to see over 1500 people gathering after a tragedy to be together, pray, love and cry together. They were not looking at who was to blame. Rather they were there to share our community’s sadness and our hope for the future. Jews, Christians and Muslims as one. 

“Hate in any form against any group is an act against us all and we have to say no more” Mayor Turner.

I still don’t understand how this kind of hate exists but during these hard times I still allow myself to smile because I know that hate will not stop this community from feeling hope, spreading love or smiling. Thank you all for showing me what a united community looks and feels like. 

May their soul be bound in the bond of life. 

For those who want to read more:
Second intifada-
Sbarro bombing-