While the Shabbat massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighbourhood of Pittsburgh on October 27 hit close to home for virtually all members of Jewish communities around the world, it hit particularly close to home for Leslie Kaufman, vice-president of corporate services for the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, who grew up in the neighbourhood and offers these thoughts.
I grew up in Squirrel Hill. My parents’ house was just three blocks from Tree of Life, and around the corner from the home of Mr. Rogers (yes, that Mr. Rogers). A quiet residential neighborhood with a vibrant business district, it was the Jewish hub blended into a culturally diverse community. The iconic street corner is Forbes and Murray, which we called “up street.” If you watched the Saturday night vigil, you saw that intersection – filled with thousands of people of all faiths, coming together with candles and umbrellas to pray and give support.
Within steps from that corner, you find the kosher butcher, grocer, and baker. You find the JCC, a Jewish senior living centre, small and large synagogues, and Jewish day schools. [Read more…]