Opinion

We Pittsburgh Jews Don't Want Your 'Thoughts and Prayers'

Keep your facile words. Instead, show us some balls. Stand up, don't cozy up, to the purveyors of hate, to the NRA, to the cowardly politicians who legitimized the synagogue shooter's sentiments

Police tape outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018
AFP

So many people - who know we live in Pittsburgh, and that we have called the Squirrel Hill neighborhood home for more than 40 years - thought about us, and wrote or called when they heard about the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. We have been moved and heartened by their concern.

We told you, our friends and to our family, that we were safe, in the sense that we were fortunate not to be among the victims of Saturday's terrible hate crime.

We are not really safe, of course, because this vile, murderous bigotry can - and has - hit all of our communities, especially those who are consistently "othered": People of color, Muslims, LGBT people.

The sentiments behind the worst anti-Semitic atrocity in American history have been legitimized and weaponized by cowardly, unprincipled political leaders who will now fall all over themselves to send their thoughts and prayers.

Keep those facile words. Instead, show us some balls.

Stand up to the purveyors of hate, instead of cozying up to them.

Stand up to the NRA instead of licking their boots for campaign contributions.

Stand up for our communities, our diversity, for the founding dream of our society and our country.

That dream is missing, not lost, but it will take courage to find it again. Today’s victims, like others before them, deserve no less.

Ronald Linden lives in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh. He is Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh