I am still in recovery mode, but I have the luxury of not being a victim today. I am grateful that while some of our nation’s leaders spew hatred for anyone not of their same majority, I can express my identity openly. I consider myself a spiritual/cultural Jew. While I typically only wear my kippah at home on the Jewish holidays, today and for the next 5 days I shall wear it. I am grateful that today and for the days that follow I shall proudly wear my kippah to show my solidarity with the victims in Pittsburgh. I shall flaunt my religion and my love of my people. I am grateful I have the choice of my religious affiliation.
I am grateful that for another day I have life. Those innocent people don’t have today or tomorrow. Today I am able to go to work at a job I love. I am grateful that I get to teach these children of many nationalities, religions, and ethnicities. These kids are “my students.” They are all equal to me. Why are we not all equal to our leaders? Why do people choose hatred over love or at least tolerance?
Every student in our school has loved ones who entrust them to our staff. The students come to class hopefully feeling safe. Sadly because of the current state of the country we now have three different levels of lock-down drills. Our doors have special locks to help us speed up the process. We teachers are being trained to run, hide, or fight. It raises the stress level of all of us. Times have changed and not for the better.
Those whose lives were cut down due to hatred have many loved ones suffering for their loss. They are being told it is the synagogues fault for not hiring armed security. What are we teaching our citizens when we tell them to have armed guards at every turn? Kind people who for absolutely no rational reason will never again come together with their families to share what should be the most spiritual and precious of times. I am grateful that I have my family, my friends, my co-workers, and my students in my life. Eleven people through no fault of their own have lost everything. All their families, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances have been deprived of their presence. I am grateful for my breaths and I am sad for the loss.
Out of respect: Those killed were Daniel Stein, 71; Joyce Feinberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; brothers Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal 54; husband and wife Bernice Simon, 84 and Sylvan Simon, 86; Melvin Wax, 88; and Irving Younger, 69.
How do we talk to kids?