A family friend is now grieving after the PittsBurg Synagogue shooting
A family friend of mine ( you know that really close "aunt". like friend of your parents) whom I have know for 35 years lost a cousin in the Pittsburg Synagogue Shooting today. An additional cousin of hers has not been accounted for (a very bad sign) and a third saw someone shot in front of her. (She went to a safe room with 2 others and when it was quiet, one opened the door and was shot.)
My friend is devastated.
I have learned a lot from everyone here.
And I know this will be like preaching to the choir here , but I put this, well something similar, on my social media page It is a step. A bit of a WE Call BS moment, for me in my own way I guess.
*"I ask that you keep my friend and her family in mind. While we all may be tired of offering "thoughts and prayers" for yet another senseless tragedy, at this moment in time we have the power to do this act for those who are grieving. Pray/ask for healing, for them all to be wrapped in love, for them to be lifted up and held in comfort and compassion.
DO SOMETHING! Get involved. Do not sit back. Take action. If someone says racist things, call them out. Call your children out. Look inward and change your own actions. Rethink what you think you know.
LISTEN to others. Learn from them. Grow.
If you continue to do what you normally do, you are part of the problem. Be part of the solution.
We are all connected. We are all human beings. We all deserve so much more."*
So, I don't know yet what actions I will take because of this horrible event. BUT I know it needs to be different than I have done in the past. We cannot continue to live in a world where a solution to a tragedy such as this is to arm religious institutions or accept that it is just the way life happens to be now. I call BS on that ( thanks for that timely reminder Jeanne). Now I have to figure out how I can call BS in my own positive way.
Thanks for this site Jeanne.
I am so deeply, truly, sorry for this devastating loss.
There are no words one can say at a time like this except to remind you that we love and care about you, your heart, and it's incredible tenderness now feeling so very very much for your dear family friend and everyone in her extended family.
My heart and soul goes out in all of the ways it knows how through you to all of them, everyday in every way.
Wrapping them up and holding them close in grace, mercy, compassion, and love.
Please know with every ounce of your being that we are truly here for you and by extension for everyone who lost their loved ones during this challenging time.
Loveendures, oh, I am so sorry to hear this. May the memory of all who departed in this horrible tragedy be for blessing.
I will indeed keep them in my prayers. And, to honor them, I will try to find small ways to be more kind to others in coming days.
Thank you Michele and RosieHeart. I appreciate your kind thoughts and words.
I am so sorry for your "family's" loss. I offer love, light, and my prayers. I know how much they can help.
Please let your "aunt" know that there are others of us who have suffered loss in very public ways, and that while it takes lots of time, we do find our way through tragedy to the other side.
Being a public tragedy adds additional burdens on those left behind. There will be news coverage, more constant reminders, and unfortunately, there will be conspiracy theorists and loons who come out of the woodwork. If any of these miscreants overstep, they shouldn't be afraid to involve the police. I had reason to do so. Given the additional stressors there will be to deal with, survivors won't realize how much stress they're under until the fog starts to eventually lift.
For us, we were told by mental health professionals that after a 'normal' death, people shouldn't make life changes for at least a year-don't change jobs, marry, divorce, move, etc. unless it's unavoidable. Those who are under the microscope of a public tragedy need to extend that to several years. The bigger the news story, the longer the time frame. We were told 3-5 years, as we were a news story that dominated the headlines for months, and news stories about our tragedy continued for several years. Remember that besides the grim task of dealing with funerals and estates, the tragedy will still be reminders long after because there will be news to deal with, and the trial of the perp, and those seeking fortune or fame in the aftermath-like reporters, authors or film makers who may want to make a name using someone else's tragedy as their springboard.
Remind your family to take care of themselves-basics-eat well, try to get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and get some exercise as they can. Turn off the news-whether via the tv or computer. It's ok to need to be alone, or to need the company of others. It's ok to need to talk about the passed loved one, or for talking about their loved one to provoke pain. It's ok to need to ask for help, inclusive of professional help. Everyone is different. They shouldn't be afraid to ask for what they need, or be afraid when it turns out they need something different than another survivor.
You all have my condolences and sympathies.
Lovendures, I am so sorry for your family 's lost. You have all my sympathies. When I found out about this horrible event, I prayed and visualized everyone going to the afterlife. I am doing so again for your friend. I pray for your family to get the strength needed to go through such a difficult time.
I abhor every kind of discrimination. I will work very hard to call it out. I will make an extra effort to lead by exemple, specially with my nieces I often look after.
Sending you & your family love, light, & strength. I am praying for our country that we stop pushing hate & embrace love instead.
First, I would like to thank everyone for their kindness, thoughts and prayers. Cindy, your words of wisdom from experience are so appreciated. I will pass along what you have mentioned. I am sorry you had to go through what you did with your daughter. Thank you also Bight Opal for your prayers and beautiful visualization.
I do have some good news. Late yesterday they were in fact able to finally make contact with the cousin they could not find. He is ok! That is a true blessing. I am not sure why there was a delay in locating him, but he was found and is safe. I am sure it was very chaotic.
My friend will fly out tomorrow to be with her family.
It was mentioned in the news that the neighborhood where the shooting took place is in fact Mr. Rodger's Neighborhood. He lived and died in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, just a few blocks from the Tree of Life. I would like to think he was able to greet his beautiful neighbors.
Oh, I love the idea of Mr. Rogers being there to usher these souls into eternal light, love, and kindness. We could all use a little Mr. Rogers these days. Thank you for that vision, Loveendures, and I'm so glad to hear that your other family member is OK.
Synchronicity, fate and a dream: Tree of Life Synagogue
My daughter just learned that the Rabbi of the only Jewish Synagogue she visited as a guest in Eugene, Oregon, should have been preaching in the Pittsburg Tree of Life Synagogue the day of the horrific shooting.
His life was saved by an accidental case of over sleeping.
And strangely enough he was awakened by a dream that woke him just minutes after the service had begun, of being in a store (not a temple) when a shooter entered and began firing on everyone.
It's incredibly sad that so many lived were lost that day because of bigotry, hatred, and the shooter wanting to make a name for himself. But it's certainly thought provoking and dream and fate affirming to hear a story such as this one.
Prayers for love, compassion and mercy to all involved and connected to this tragedy.
Pittsburgh A retired Eugene rabbi overslept — and missed the synagogue service attacked by a gunman.
Rabbi Yitzhak Husbands-Hankin, the retired leader of Eugene’s Temple Beth Israel, may be alive today because he overslept on Saturday.
Husbands-Hankin was visiting the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh — his hometown — on Saturday, Oct. 27, and had planned to join a morning service at Tree of Life Synagogue there.
Husbands-Hankin led a Friday night service for the congregation at the synagogue, the day before the attack. “Friday night was such a high for the congregation,” he said. “And 11 hours later it turned into a nightmare.”
Oddly, Husbands-Hankin was having a nightmare about shooting when he awoke Saturday morning. He is completely amazed at the coincidence.
“Dreams are deeply personal,” he says. “And yet it was so connected. I never dream about shooting. But I dreamed that somebody was trying to shoot us.
I sometimes wonder what gives people the oomph to get up and get moving after terrible tragedies like this. I found an answer in Judaic literature. This is a quote from a much larger piece on DailyKos:
Rav Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, noting that the Talmud tells us that the Temple was destroyed because of sinas chinam (groundless hatred), famously wrote “If we were destroyed, and the world with us, due to sinas chinam, then we shall rebuild ourselves, and the world with us, with baseless love — ahavas chinam.”
The following was sent to my mom by our friend who lost her cousin in the Pittsburg shooting. I thought is was so beautiful that many of you would appreciate it here. It is a post from the ER nurse who treated the shooter. It is long but worth the read.
"I am The Jewish Nurse.
Yes, that Jewish Nurse. The same one that people are talking about in the Pittsburgh shooting that left 11 dead. The trauma nurse in the ER that cared for Robert Bowers who yelled, "Death to all Jews," as he was wheeled into the hospital. The Jewish nurse who ran into a room to save his life.
To be honest, I’m nervous about sharing this. I just know I feel alone right now, and the irony of the world talking about me doesn’t seem fair without the chance to speak for myself.
When I was a kid, being labeled “The Jewish (anything)”, undoubtedly had derogatory connotations attached to it. That's why it feels so awkward to me that people suddenly look at it as an endearing term. As an adult, deflecting my religion by saying “I’m not that religious,” makes it easier for people to accept I’m Jewish – especially when I tell them my father is a rabbi. “I’m not that religious,” is like saying, “Don’t worry, I’m not that Jewish, therefore, I’m not so different than you,” and like clockwork, people don’t look at me as awkwardly as they did a few seconds beforehand.
I experienced anti-Semitism a lot as a kid. It’s hard for me to say if it was always a product of genuine hatred, or if kids with their own problems found a reason to single me out from others. Sure, there were a few Jewish kids at my school, but no one else had a father who was a Rabbi. I found drawings on desks of my family being marched into gas chambers, swastikas drawn on my locker, and notes shoved inside of it saying, “Die Jew. Love, Hitler.” It was a different time back then, where bullying was not monitored like it is now. I was weak, too. Rather than tell anyone, I hid behind fear. Telling on the people who did this would only lead to consequences far worse.
Regardless, the fact that this shooting took place doesn’t shock me. To be honest, it’s only a matter of time before the next one happens. History refutes hope that things will change. My heart yearns for change, but today's climate doesn't foster nurturing, tolerance, or civility. Even before this shooting took place, there’s no real evidence supporting otherwise. The FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center note that Jews only account for two percent of the U.S. population, yet 60% of all religious hate crimes are committed against them. I don’t know why people hate us so much, but the underbelly of anti-Semitism seems to be thriving.
So now, here I am, The Jewish Nurse that cared for Robert Bowers. I’ve watched them talk about me on CNN, Fox News, Anderson Cooper, PBS, and the local news stations. I’ve read articles mentioning me in the NY Times and the Washington Post. The fact that I did my job, a job which requires compassion and empathy over everything, is newsworthy to people because I’m Jewish. Even more so because my dad’s a Rabbi.
To be honest, I didn't see evil when I looked into Robert Bower's eyes. I saw something else. I can’t go into details of our interactions because of HIPAA. I can tell you that as his nurse, or anyone's nurse, my care is given through kindness, my actions are measured with empathy, and regardless of the person you may be when you're not in my care, each breath you take is more beautiful than the last when you're lying on my stretcher. This was the same Robert Bowers that just committed mass homicide. The Robert Bowers who instilled panic in my heart worrying my parents were two of his 11 victims less than an hour before his arrival.
I’m sure he had no idea I was Jewish. Why thank a Jewish nurse, when 15 minutes beforehand, you’d shoot me in the head with no remorse? I didn’t say a word to him about my religion. I chose not to say anything to him the entire time. I wanted him to feel compassion. I chose to show him empathy. I felt that the best way to honor his victims was for a Jew to prove him wrong. Besides, if he finds out I’m Jewish, does it really matter? The better question is, what does it mean to you?
Love. That’s why I did it. Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope. It demonstrates humanity. It reaffirms why we’re all here. The meaning of life is to give meaning to life, and love is the ultimate force that connects all living beings. I could care less what Robert Bowers thinks, but you, the person reading this, love is the only message I wish instill in you. If my actions mean anything, love means everything.
Ari Mahler, RN."