I want to follow up on my post of yesterday regarding the tragedy in Pittsburgh.

First, I want to name the deceased so that we can include them – and their families – in our prayers:

  • Joyce Fienberg
  • Richard Gottfried
  • Rose Mallinger
  • Jerry Rabinowitz
  • David Rosenthal
  • Bernice Simon
  • Sylvan Simon
  • Daniel Stein
  • Melvin Wax
  • Irving Younger

During our tefilot this Friday night we will take time to remember and honor them.

Second, I want to share with you words of love and support that I have received from friends of our beyond our Jewish family. Having been in tefilot all morning on Shabbat, I knew nothing of what had happened until I returned home to find a phone message from Ty Rashid of the Ahmadiyya community.  Ty sent us his deepest condolences and told us that we all are in his thoughts and in the thoughts of his community.  He condemned the violence and said that they stand and mourn with us. When I was able to reach him yesterday, he reiterated those commitments and sends all his love.

Next, I received a thank you note from Pastor James Preston, our Shabbat morning guest and teacher.  He was effusive in expressing the joy he experienced in celebration with our community.  Then he wrote:

More importantly, my heart breaks as I hear the news from Pittsburgh and the Tree of Life Synagogue there.  Please know that we at Kingswood are praying for all of you as we work for an end to violence and a vision for peace and healing. We are praying for those in Pittsburgh especially those grieving the loss of loved ones to this senseless act of violence. Let us know if there is anything we might do to be of help or support to our dear friends at B’Chavana.  Blessings, comfort, strength and courage to you.

After that, I received an email from Junayd Latif, who led the delegation from the Ahmadiyya community that visited our Shabbat services in July.  Junayd wrote:

I speak for the entire Ahmadiyya Muslim Community when I say we are deeply saddened by the horrible terrorist attack in Pittsburgh. The pleasure of getting to know you and your community gives us a small idea of the pain that must be felt by the community that lost the members of the Tree of Life Synagogue. Our prayers are with them and all of you who make up our vibrant Jewish American Community. Please convey our thoughts and prayers to all of your members and let me know if there is any action we can do to help support the Jewish communities in our area.

I will respond to Pastor James and Junayd shortly.

Finally, I received a note from Steve Feinberg telling us that he celebrated Bar Mitzvah in that synagogue, as well as attending Sunday school and Hebrew school. His family is safe but his sister knew some of the victims. I’ll be contacting Nancy and Steve today as well. I’ll convey our love and condolences to them and to their family in Pittsburgh.

I know that you will keep this sorrow close in the days to come.  I hope that, rather than letting it embitter or depress you, you will allow it to spur you to greater resolve and action that will bring love and healing to our fractured and fractious world.

We’ll share more this Friday night.