Still Pittsburgh – #1LinerWeds

Over four years ago, I wrote a post titled “I am Pittsburgh” in which I tried to explain the roots I have in that city, and the characteristics that were established in me, as I grew up there. I return to that city for vacations, and I return to that city here on this blog. In fact, I think I’ve written about Pittsburgh more than I have about Hartford. After this weekend’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, I was trying to find a respectful way to return to that city again. I share the grief and anger, but that wasn’t what I wanted to talk about. I think that should be reserved for others

I wanted a way to explain what I understand about Pittsburgh, and about the neighborhood that was racked by this senseless hate crime.  I thought about reprising my post to focus more on the city’s resilient nature, but that post was too much about me.

Early on Monday, I found the answer in an article on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette NewsSlide (iPhone app). The Tree of Life synagogue was home to three congregations. Rabbis from each congregation, area Christian and Muslim leaders as well as other dignitaries spoke at a vigil held at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall on the nearby University of Pittsburgh campus. The following are a few excerpts from that article:

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers spoke about rereading the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” But added that he did want, and speaking to God said, “What I want you can’t give me,” he continued. “You can’t return these 11 beautiful souls. You can’t rewind the clock.”– He returned to the Psalm later in his message, recalling: “My cup overflows with love,” he said. “That’s how you defeat hate,” and he called on politicians to lead the way by avoiding hateful rhetoric.

“Rabbi Jonathan Perlman of New Light Congregation tearfully spoke of losing three of the ‘pillars’ of the congregation, who were as dedicated to social service outside as they were to religious life inside the synagogue.” He ended with the statement I was looking for:

“What happened yesterday will not break us.”

He may have been speaking about the congregation or the community, but I think that statement characterizes the spirit of Pittsburgh.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.

Today’s gallery is small and contains a few pictures of the limited fall color we’re observing.


  1. Your presence there matters, Dan. I recently read comments from Brene’ Brown that go along with the rabbi’s sentiments – “Showing up matters – And funerals matter not just to the people grieving, but to everyone who is there. The collective pain (and sometimes joy) we experience when gathering in any way to celebrate the end of a life is perhaps one of the most powerful experiences of inextricable connection. Death, loss, and grief are the great equalizers.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Shelley. I usually avoid jumping on the bandwagon after these (seemingly endless) shootings, but this one is close to home, even if I haven’t lived there for 40 years. I felt like I had to support their effort to deal with this. That city is full of survivors,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If there was a love button for this post and a hug button for Pittsburgh, I’d press them both.

    “[Love] that’s how you defeat hate.” It’s up to us, Dan – those that love – to turn the current tide of hate, bigotry, and angry rhetoric. I think we’ve had enough of these shootings in churches and elsewhere, with communities having to attend unnecessary funerals and be resilient through it. I don’t know when a sector of this country will understand that hate does not make a country great, but rather leads to divide (as we’re experiencing now) and violence.

    I will continue to love my fellow humans any way I’m able because every life matters.

    My condolences and sincere prayers go out to the Tree of Life Synagogue and Squirrel Hill. I wish them peace for their hearts, to lighten the heavy load they must be feeling.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Mary. I think the two Rabbis both set an example of what’s necessary (and no, it’s not having armed guards everywhere) to deal with these issues. This was so senseless, and so sad. I just can’t imagine. I know they will recover, but you’re right, they shouldn’t have to.


    • I struggled with how to respond, Joanne. I was glad to find these quotes and to learn a little from the people most directly involved. I think they have the right answer. It’s not particularly uplifting, but it’s moving in the right direction.


  3. I grieve for the lives cut short. I grieve for those left behind. I grieve. We are all touched by the senselessness. We cannot let hate win but it is difficult when leaders refuse to help. We will survive to remember the gentle souls we’ve lost.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Both rabbis spoke eloquently. I cannot wrap my head around these endless attacks on innocent people. Hate and division and intolerance have no place in this world, but they will flourish as long as people keep spewing it out.

    My heart breaks for those who lost their lives and all those who mourn their loss. I know our neighbors in Pittsburgh will heal, but they shouldn’t have to.

    “What happened yesterday will not break us.” Let those words ring true.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks Dan. Sometimes it takes a while to find an appropriate response. The ‘tears’ on the leaves are fitting in this time of reflection. I hope we can hear the rabbi and make changes in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “My cup overflows with love,” he said. “That’s how you defeat hate.”
    This powerful statement reminds me of a very moving book that a young man, husband and father, wrote after his wife was killed in one of the Paris terrorist attacks. The book’s title is in English You Won’t Have My Hate.
    Hate is at the core of what happened in Pittsburgh and sadly in so many other places.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a very good book, Evelyne. Hate is behind all of these senseless acts, I don’t understand it, but you can’t respond with more hate. Responding with love is necessary, but it must be hard for these people.


  7. Great post and inspiring words Dan. I’m having a hard time processing what happened there, especially the ‘why’. I try to stay positive and hopeful but some days it’s harder than others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Norm. This one is very hard to understand. None of these killings make any sense, but this is just so sad. I don’t know where those two rabbis found the words to put this tragedy into perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The other day I was casually scrolling through the news when I read about the Pittsburgh tragedy. It was disheartening and sometimes I fail to understand how stupid we can be to fall into these traps of evil. However, on a positive note, these events only make us stronger and bring us closer as a city and community. I remember the day when 7 bombs went off in local trains in Mumbai in 2006. I could be in one of them, luckily that day I went home early. The perpetrators thought no one would use the local train but the next day it was business as usual. In fact, we as daily commuters became the extra pair of eyes and ears to the cops. We would bring to the notice any unclaimed bag or suitcase or lunchbox to ensure no one can bring down the peace of the city.

    Liked by 2 people

          • I grew up with stories of the Holocaust. As with most Jewish families, we had families members who died in the camp’s. I hope that the people of the United States have the intelligence and spirit to pull us away from the terrible path we’re on. We must vote regardless of what we think the outcome will be.

            Liked by 1 person

            • It’s as if Hitler reached from beyond the grave for her. Unfortunately, hatred has taken root, our President is a racist and a fascist, and he as much as admits it. He is sending our military to our border with orders to asylum seekers if they throw rocks at them. These people walking and they are over a thousand miles away from our border. It’s mind boggling to consider how crazy this country has gotten in two short years. I was asking myself today, how does one define good mental health in Nation with a President who is a danger to himself and others?

              Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful words that speak volumes Dan. Thanks for sharing. And the gallery today is particularly poignant.

    I add the names to honor their memories:

    Joyce Fienberg, 75, Richard Gottfried, 65, Rose Mallinger, 97, Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, David Rosenthal, 54, Bernice Simon, 84, Sylvan Simon, 87, Daniel Stein, 71, Melvin Wax, 88, and 69-year-old Irving Younger.

    “What happened yesterday will not break us” is a mantra. The most comforting one liner of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah. I think it was remarkable that these two rabbis could compose themselves after such a senseless crime and offer healing words.

      The trees seemed to be good images for these words.


  10. I want to have hope that our leaders will wake up. That one of these events and the pleas of Americans will finally cause them to recognize that their all out ideological war is tearing us apart. And this is not just about Trump. It is both sides. Our “leaders” have lost the ability to lead as they let the extremists on both sides push them towards this never ending ideological war. If it wasn’t Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Charlottesville, or any of this ever growing list that can do it, I see no reason that Pittsburgh will do it either. Our current crop of “leaders” have demonstrated they are incapable of engaging in the most fundamental aspect of their jobs — leading. Americans need to change the dynamic and kick them out — all of them — and replace them with representatives who want to lead and find solutions and respect each other.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree. The current crop of alleged leaders do nothing and have accomplished very little that is truly helpful to this country. They represent the people who pay them the most and they repeatedly turn a blind eye to the problems we face.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. “What happened yesterday will not break us.”

    Some cities are “trooper”; the people survive and somehow make sure their surroundings keep the same spirit going. Other cities give into the rubbish that comes their way. Unfortunately, my hometown is in the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

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