The day of the shooting in Pittsburg we didn't talk to the kids. Sunday went by and we also had them, and ourselves, in a cocoon just by turning off NPR. But by Saturday night we had already gotten emails from our synagogue saying there would be explicit conversation and prayer at Hebrew School. Putting all this together late enough in the day meant that when I went to bed Saturday night, I wrote myself a sticky note simply saying "Abe shooting". The bedside note is usually a mundane reminder of something that may otherwise be forgotten in the rush of the coming morning, like taking out chicken from the freezer for dinner or packing my phone charger because I know it will be a long day. Having to remember to tell Abe about the most recent shooting before he heads to Hebrew School makes this particular shooting hit closer to home, for sure.
Many times in my life I have wondered whether I am a Jewish American or an American Jew. This week I was surprised in my response to the Pittsburg shooting - it felt less about anti-semitism and more about gun possession and control. I absolutely blows my mind there are so many people in America running rampant with guns. Terrible, crazy people have easy access to instruments of destruction and make hateful inclinations turn into mass murders. As a Jew, I feel bolstered by the support of non-Jewish communities but it doesn't make me feel safer. Coming together across community lines just makes me feel like the next vigil will be fuller. We tend to acknowledge allies and friends in a moment of attack or devestation, but at this point it feels like this particular moment won't be the last - this won't be the last time we meet like this. Not only will there be a next time, but it feels like gun attacks come closer and closer together as days and months and years go by. My reminder note to talk about a shooting could stay within the foreseeable future and remain relevant. This week I could be talking to Abe about a shooting at a yoga studio in Florida, and next week...what will it be?