I spent each Shabbat for five-odd years within the Tree of Life constructing in my neighborhood of Squirrel Hill.
As a result of my three sisters have been older and out of the home, the weekly ritual of accompanying our dad to shul fell on me.
He was the president then of a brand new, smaller congregation, Or L’Simcha, that discovered a house within the basement of the constructing.
Throughout the week, I spent hours within the house watching my father and different neighborhood leaders discussing dues for brand new members, trying over blueprints for prayer halls and asking deeper questions on what the mission of this new congregation must be.
At this time, I returned to temple, for the primary Shabbat providers since 11 folks have been fatally gunned down final Saturday within the worst assault on Jews in American historical past. The providers weren’t held within the Tree of Life synagogue, which continues to be roped off as a criminal offense scene, however in Congregation Beth Shalom a number of blocks away.
I listened as Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers returned to the pulpit. Final week he was conducting prayers within the synagogue as 11 of his congregants have been mowed down round him.
He spoke about God and nation, and the way you can’t struggle hate with hate.
Then he defined why he welcomed President Trump on Tuesday, a gesture that many criticized.
“I could not agree with among the issues any president ever says — that’s my proper as an American,” he mentioned. “I cannot let anyone inform me how one can welcome a visitor in my home.”
It was highly effective second. As a lot because the evening earlier than once I watched man convert to Judaism.
He got here up together with his spouse and younger daughter at one other neighborhood congregation, Temple Sinai, and my rabbi supplied him the identical blessing bestowed upon Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: “A noble heritage has been entrusted to you: guard it nicely.”
There may be an outdated saying about Jerusalem: Some males have hearts of stone whereas some stones have the hearts of males.
I believe that adage now applies to Squirrel Hill.
The assassin who mercilessly killed the weak has a coronary heart of stone. And every road, home and stone in my hometown has the hearts of males.