The murdering barbarian struck literally in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and at the synagogue where writer Weiss became a bat mitzvah.
Every Jewish community in America will now have to make sensible decisions about how to ensure that they are not the next victims of someone like Mr. Bowers. But those hard choices should not make us forget the core values that make communities like Squirrel Hill what they are: welcoming, big-hearted and profoundly decent. One of the gifts of the Jewish experience in America is that because we have been so welcomed and so safe here, these values have been able to flourish.
Just as every Jewish couple gets married under a canopy open on all four sides — a replica of the tent modeled for us by Abraham and Sarah — so must Jewish communities keep our tents open. This is the true source of our longevity and resilience.
Now the Jews of Pittsburgh join the growing list of communities around the world that have been terrorized by anti-Semitic fanatics, from Kansas City to Brussels to Mumbai to Jerusalem. The heartbreak is indescribable.
But Squirrel Hill, I am certain, will continue to live by the values that the Jews have sustained for more than 2,000 years. They can never be gunned down.
“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”