by Jacki Post Ashkin, LCSW-C
Shabbat shalom. A peaceful Sabbath. It is something we wish one another each Friday; a phrase that passes between us easily and naturally. But there was no peace one year ago on a beautiful Shabbat. Horror and bloodshed invaded a place and a time that is meant to be joyful and sacred. Lives were lost inside a synagogue, a holy sanctuary, in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, and collectively Jewish communities across our country and around the world felt shock and enormous grief at the deadly tragedy.
Each of us – young and old –struggled (and many still do) to understand why. Far too often, we have been confronted with the horror of mass shootings in places where we once took our safety for granted – schools, malls, concerts, and places of worship, left wondering how one person could harbor so much hatred as to feel justified in committing mass murder. And as our hearts continue to remember the victims’ families, friends, and community, we can’t help but wonder if our neighborhood is next.
How do we cope with our anxiety and sadness? How do we talk to our children about what happened? How do we explain anti-Semitism and hatred that we ourselves cannot fathom?
In response to previous incidents of mass violence, Jewish Community Services (JCS) staff have offered information about caring for your own needs as well as helping your children.
For a complete listing of community remembrances in the Baltimore area, please click here.
Jacki Post Ashkin, LCSW-C is the Director of Community Connections at Jewish Community Services.
Through a variety of groups, programs and services, JCS Grief Counselors offer support, guidance, comfort, and hope to people of all ages who are bereaved and trying to cope with the death of someone important in their lives. To learn more about JCS Grief Services, visit jcsbalt.org/griefsupport or call 410-466-9200.
The Jewish Community Critical Incident Response Team (JCCIRT) provides critical incident stress defusings and debriefings to small groups affected by a crisis or major occurrence, including community disasters, natural disasters, riots, robberies, vandalism, sudden deaths, and threats or acts of violence.