Writing at The Times of Israel, Shaina Be Flatow remembers growing up not far from the Tree of Life synagogue in a Pittsburgh neighborhood where there were cross-burnings and she was called Jewish slurs.
In the hour before the Tree of Life terror attack, I was sitting at a Shabbat table in Jerusalem, Israel, relating a story from 10th grade in my liberal arts high school in Pittsburgh where a fellow student had been arrested for breaking the tombstones in the Jewish cemetery in Pittsburgh and spray-painting swastikas on the graves. He was so proud of the charges that he hung the articles from The PGH Post-Gazette on his locker and grabbed me by the arm to make sure I had seen the story. I punched him in the face.
I told the story with a degree of levity that I reflected on after Shabbat, as I started reading the shocking news pouring onto my cell phone. I did not think about this story as I sat glued to Facebook waiting for every person I grew up with, went to Sunday school with, and met that could possibly have been inside that shul to update their status that they and their family were safe.
Join Rabbi Eckstein on October 30 for a Town Hall discussion about the attack in Pittsburgh, the threat of anti-Semitism, and how all of us, Christians and Jews alike, must unite in prayer during these divisive times. Find more information here.