Tree of Life

Tree of Life Tree of Life
The attack on Tree of Life was a terrorist expression of the white nationalist movement encouraged and legitimized by Presidents Trump and Netanyahu.  My grandparents lived in Pittsburgh and I went to a summer camp there in the 1960s along with many children of the Pittsburgh Jewish community.  My cousin reminded me that we knew Cecil and David Rosenthal as children; I do not remember them, but he does.  Thanks to Guy Ben-Aharon, Boston-based director of Israeli political theater, who sent out the following message.  It resonated with me because it feels like the attacks are coming closer. – Cole Harrison
 
by Guy Ben-Aharon
 
On Saturday morning, right after I heard the news, I took a long train ride with my girlfriend. And I cried. I didn’t know what to do.
 
I received a message from my aunt with a photo of my grandparents’ gravestones, saying she went to visit them. Timing is everything. I showed the photo to my girlfriend, and shared with her my grandparents’ request to include the names of their own parents (Toni & Arnold and Esther & Eliyahu) on their gravestone. My grandparents (Aliza & Shaul) survived the Holocaust, but their parents did not. Their parents didn’t have gravestones. This was finally a place of rest for them. A place of commemoration.
 
I stared at the picture. I stared out the window. I stared at the news on my phone. I tried to process this renewed reality of someone murdering a group of Jews simply because they are Jewish—while recognizing that Jews in America are not the only target, and that Jews are just one of many marginalized communities who are facing such heinous acts of hate.
 
I then went into a museum. The art seemed hollow.
 
On Sunday, I saw a video from the vigil held on the Boston Common where Rev Liz Walker spoke. She told the crowd that we all have the potential to poke a little light in the darkness, until the darkness is full of light. I took solace in her message.
 
Today, I’ve been reading and rereading this poem. A poem by the Hebrew poet Yehuda Amichai—Poem Without an End
 
Inside the brand-new museum
there’s an old synagogue.
Inside the synagogue
is me.
Inside me
my heart.
Inside my heart
a museum.
Inside the museum
a synagogue,
inside it
me,
inside me
my heart,
inside my heart
a museum
 
I am not sure what tomorrow will bring. There’s just one thought I try to summon, hold on to, and think of when struggling to know what to do. I share this thought with you in hope that you might find it meaningful too. May there be peace within us. Peace between us. May every living being, with no exception know peace.
 
This is an impossibly difficult time. If you have a thought to share, please feel free to write me.
 
In the meantime, please hold a good thought for the Tree of Life, and for:
 
Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland;
Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross;
Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill;
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood; 
brothers Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill, and David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill;
married couple Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg; Sylvan Simon, 86, of Wilkinsburg;
Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill;
Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill;
Irving Younger, 69, of Mount Washington
 
May we know peace,
Guy