Tree of Life

I can’t believe that I have to write this.

It’s unspeakable.

I’m sure you’re aware of the horrifying manifestation of hate that took place at Tree of Life Synagogue this past weekend. The Pittsburgh area is obviously very close to our hearts. More specifically, that very synagogue was the last place some of our precious, long-time friends saw before they left this earth.

They were in their house of worship. Of peace. Of love. Before hate showed up.

Hate killed them. Hate shattered the lives of those left behind. Hate made deeper an open wound that has yet to heal in the heart of our country.

11 people were “lost” that day.

But were they really lost? I don’t think so.

Because they loved. They laughed.

They were friends and brothers and sisters and family. They were part of community. They contributed to society. They had fulfilling relationships. They were thinkers, doers, be-ers, doctors, teachers, mothers, fathers, grandparents. They were vibrant, full of life. They were wise and compassionate, kind and caring, and every one of them made it past the half-century mark.

They lived.

And, they lived fully, intentionally, and unapologetically.

If someone is “lost”, they are unable to find their way. They have gone astray, or they have wasted opportunities.

Dr. Richard Gottfried, Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, Mr. Irving Younger, Mr. Daniel Stein, Mrs. Joyce Fienberg, Mr. Melvin Wax, Mr. and Mrs. Sylvan and Bernice Simon, Mrs. Rose Mallinger, and the Rosenthal Brothers, David, and Cecil…

They may not be with us anymore, walking around on this planet, but they most assuredly are not lost. They can be heard in the belly laughs of their children and grandchildren. They can be seen in these eyes of the helpers and caregivers and pillars of the community. They can be felt in hugs and tears and joy. They will be known by their powerful legacy that left an infectious love.

If you would like to get to know them and see how they left this world better than how they found it, you can read their stories here and here.

Yes, hate seems to be running more rampant these days. It can seem like an impossible situation.

We’re allowed to be angry.

We’re allowed to be sorrowful.

We’re allowed to take as much time as we need to start the healing process.

But, we cannot allow bitterness to creep in.

We cannot allow antipathy to cloud our vision for the future.

We cannot allow the very thing that snuffed out the life force that was in those 11 precious light-bearers any space in our own hearts and lives.

It may not seem like it now because we’re feeling the relentless waves of grief, but hope and joy will come.

Because love always win.

If you’re looking for a real and practical way to help, may we suggest two options:

First, the congregation is accepting donations to help the families of the victims as well as repairing the synagogue itself at any branch of First National Bank of Pennsylvania or online here.
Second, please consider making a blood or platelet donation with your local
Red Cross. It’s an easy process and you can DIRECTLY contribute to saving the life of another.

 

 

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