Opinion | After Pittsburgh, the Power of Community


By Naomi Adler

With the massacre of Jews in Pittsburgh, our Jewish communities have found ourselves thrown into an agonizing moment in time — a time of mourning, grief and outrage. Each of us has wrestled with intense feelings over the past week or so.

However, there is some solace in the knowledge that none of us has struggled alone because, I am proud to say, our communities instinctively reacted the way communities do in times of crisis. We banded together.

Overwhelmed by the need to connect, we reached out for one another. Here at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, we received hundreds of emails, calls and texts. The day after the shooting, our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and Jewish Federation staff worked together with other community leaders to swiftly put together an Interfaith Vigil of Solidarity and Hope at Congregation Rodeph Shalom. What a profound moment it was to have nearly 2,000 attendees from all over our region crowd into the overflowing sanctuary.

The following day, our Jewish Federation convened almost 300 representatives of local Jewish congregations and other Jewish institutions for a high-level security meeting at the Jewish Community Services Building. Our director of security, the Philadelphia Police Department, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security each briefed us on how we can keep our community members safe.

And then this past weekend, our Jewish communities and interfaith friends heeded the call for a Solidarity Shabbat —  #ShowUpForShabbat — by packing area congregations in every corner of the region. We prayed together, cried together and together declared ourselves proud of who we are.

Together, let us now make ourselves a promise: When this collective mourning period passes — and it will — we will remember it. We must remember our grief and our collective outrage, as well as how important we all are to one another. Because we must ensure this horror never again happens to our Jewish communities, or to any community.

And as we find our way forward, we must remember to continue holding fast to one another, as communities do. Because we are always stronger together. That’s what our Jewish Federation is all about. 

Naomi Adler is the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.


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