The eleven Jews murdered yesterday as they worshiped at the Tree of Life Congregation near Pittsburgh could be found in any synagogue, including my own: the former congregational president, the lay leader, the man with the famously dry wit, the shofar (ram’s horn) blower; the ones everybody loved and could depend on.
It could have been any of us. And in a sense, it was.
An attack on one Jew is an attack on all Jews. Thanks to the recent normalization of hate in this country, I don’t expect yesterday’s incident to be the last. But we will not yield to fear. We will not change who we are, go underground, or submit to terror. In our long history, we have faced down tyrants, fanatics, demagogues, and random haters, and we are still here. We will continue to live and worship as Jews as we have for thousands of years.
There will be vigils and prayer gatherings, and (no doubt) heightened security. There will be difficult times ahead for the survivors — actually, for all of us — and walking-on-eggshells Hebrew-school sessions. There will be speeches and resolutions. There will be grief, and anger, and yes, some fear. But we will go on.
We will go on. Because this is what we do.