This week’s Shabbat message is not to talk about the tragedy of last Shabbat nor to describe all that has gone on this past week, it is merely to say thank you.
Thank you to the Pittsburgh Police, Public Safety and FBI for doing a tremendous job not only in capturing an anti Semitic, hateful murderer, but for all they have done in providing extra protection at funerals and shivas. (As I attended all nine funerals this week, I stopped to say thank you to all the Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh and CMU Officers – I urge you to do the same when you see them.) Thank you to all the medical personnel who are caring for our injured and the EMS who saved lives. Thank you to all our political leadership at the City, County, State and Federal level for caring so much about our Jewish community and doing anything we have requested. Thank you to all the Squirrel Hill area synagogues for opening their doors to Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha, New Light and Dor Hadash for funerals and services. Thank you to our Federation agencies for just doing what needed to get done. Thank you to the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Department of Human Services, along with others, who have been caring for the wellbeing of the survivors and everyone else. Thank you to donors from Pittsburgh and around the world for donating to the Federation’s “Our Victims of Terror Fund”. Thank you to corporations and foundations for being so generous to our community. Thank you to all those who have provided food and other supplies to families and to feed the staff working diligently in the Jewish community. I know I must be forgetting many other categories of what Fred Rogers refers to as the “helpers” and hope if you are part of one of them that I have omitted, you will forgive me.
Thank you to those working for our Jewish communal institutions, all our Jewish communal professionals, for laboring insane hours with very little sleep and taking on responsibilities far beyond their normal job descriptions to take care of our Pittsburgh Jewish community. You are my heroes.
We, as a Federation, were able to begin responding immediately on Saturday because we were here in Friday. It is only because we have a strong Federation and strong agencies that we were able to strategize, organize and implement our communal response so swiftly. We have already delivered every family a check, funded by the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, for immediate needs and are paying to feed the FBI as they work intensely on their investigation.
(Writing this section just before I hit send.)
I just returned from the Tree of Life-Or L’Simcha building. I had to go over and be there before Shabbat settles in. I choked up my tears again.
May the names of all those slaughtered last week just for being Jewish, be forever as a blessing to their families, to our community and to all the mourners of Zion.
Shabbat Shalom. This will be a Shabbat of Shalom.