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Local Jewish community reacts to tragedy in Pittsburgh

Posted at 12:46 PM, Oct 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-29 13:46:39-04

TULSA -- The Jewish Community in Tulsa is reeling after the tragedy in Pittsburgh over the weekend.

Eleven people were gunned down in the Temple of Life Synagogue Saturday.

Saturday is Shabbat in the Jewish faith. It is a day for rest and return to life renewed. This week, members of the community said they did anything but.

"There’s an uneasiness," Rabbi Michael Weinstein with Temple Israel Tulsa said. "There’s a frustration. There’s a sorrow that has carried through many of our hearts and souls at this time."

The fear of hate Rabbi Weinstein says was brought to light in this attack is something adults are having a hard time coming to grips with what happened.

The Mizel Jewish Day School chose not to tell their students the disturbing details surrounding the attack.

"We cannot tell those tales to a young child," Lillian Hellman, head of Mizel Jewish Day School, said. "We don’t want to traumatize them."

The school has less than 50 students from preschool to fourth grade. Hellman said they have both Jewish students and non-Jewish students.

Monday morning, the students gathered in their model synagogue to say blessings of healing, like they do every Monday. 

During today's meeting, Hellman said two fourth graders asked for healing for the people of Pittsburgh.

Hellman said, ironically, their Bible lesson for the week is about Abraham and how he was kind and welcomed strangers.

"I was able to talk in context," Hellman said. "We talk about being kind. We talk about being good people. 'There are evil people in the world, but if you grow up to be kind, that will cut out some of the evil.'"

The students lit a memorial candle for the 11 victims in the tragedy. They also took a picture holding a sign saying "We are with you, Pittsburgh." They are one of many schools who will send a photo to the Pittsburgh synagogue to show support.

"We are all God’s children and we are all here to try and raise our kids and go to work and do good works," Rabbi Weinstein said. "There is no place for hate in our society." 

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