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.