Five Ways to Cope After the Pittsburgh Tragedy

by Aliza Epstein / November 5, 2018

The shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27th was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in United States history. There was a death toll of 11.  In the days and weeks after the attack, Jews across the country are still struggling to come to terms with this horrific act. Here are five things you can do to cope after the Pittsburgh tragedy.

Say thank you.

The next time you’re in synagogue, say thank you to the security guards.  Security guards have a difficult, but important job. Oftentimes the people guarding our synagogues are different races, ethnicities, and religions than the people inside the sanctuary.  Although it’s easy to think of our country as being divided, seeing people who are committed to protecting others who are different from them is a reminder of unity and a spark of hope.

thank you

Go to a community Shabbat.  

There are numerous opportunities to come together as a community to process, and move forward together in the wake of this tragedy.  Check the GatherDC calendar. While these events can’t necessarily give us answers or eliminate our pain, they can ensure that we don’t have to grieve alone.


Donate money.  

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has established the Fund for Victims of Terror.  The money will be used for medical bills, counseling, repairs of damages to the building, and additional security.  There is also a verified GoFundMe campaign that has already collected over one million dollars, which will go directly to the Tree of Life Congregation.  In addition, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has created the Communal Security Fund to ensure the immediate security needs of every local synagogue and Jewish organization are met.


Say Tehillim.  

Known in English as Psalms, Tehillim contain some of the most widely recognized verses from the Bible (such as, “the Lord is my shepherd”).  The Book of Tehillim was composed by King David. It is the first book of the Ketuvim (Writings), which are the third section of the Tanakh.  There are 150 Tehillim.  Jews often recite Tehillim during difficult times.  You can find all 150 Tehillim in Hebrew, English, and transliteration at



Everyone has an opportunity to impact our laws, our country, and our future by showing up to the polls on November 6th.  



May the memories of those who died in the Tree of Life shooting forever be a blessing and may the wounded have a speedy recovery.





About the author: Aliza Epstein is a native of the Washington, DC area and currently lives in Arlington, VA.  She works as a non-profit manager.







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