27 October 2020
Today, we remember the eleven people killed during the October 27, 2018 attack in Pittsburgh.
I know the pain and horror of that day still feel very real. As Jews, we had to contend with layers of tragedy, including heartbreaking loss of life, anti-Semitism made manifest, and an atrocious display of hate. Two years on, these wounds have not healed. We still miss the people we lost. We still fear a resurgence of hateful ideology in our country.
While these realities might make us want to hide our eyes, as a community, we have a responsibility not to look away. We must remember and celebrate the lives of those who were killed—each of whom was full of light, kindness, and passion for their community. And we must also acknowledge the challenges that await us in securing a more peaceful future.
As I shared recently, we at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington are working closely with local partners to help keep our community safe. We are committed to remaining vigilant against those who would seek to do our us harm.
But perhaps our most important work lies beyond addressing our immediate security needs. One of the greatest obligations we have as Jews is to help repair the world around us—and if the rise of twisted, dangerous conspiracy theories is any indicator, our world could use some mending. Fortunately, we know how to face hatred straight on and to overwhelm it with love and light.
Two years ago, during one of the darkest hours of American Jewish history, the Jewish community and our country at-large came together to stand in solidarity against hate. The overwhelming sentiment was one of decency, compassion, and goodness. I do not believe that this was a one-time thing. I, like so many of you, believe in our community’s enduring capacity to mobilize in service of love and understanding.
We can continue this important work tonight by coming together once again to remember what happened and to renew our shared commitment to building a better world. I invite you to join the Pittsburgh community and thousands around the globe for an online commemoration ceremony beginning at 7:00 pm EST. The event is being hosted by Pittsburgh’s 10.27 Healing Partnership and will offer us the chance to reflect and move forward in spirit and in action. Please visit www.1027healingpartnership.org for details.
May the memory of those who were killed on that tragic day in October 2018 be for a blessing. And may we continue to look to them as sources of inspiration in finding the courage we need to meet the challenges ahead.
Today, and always, we remember: