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Perspective in the face of tragedy


The senses are still too numb, the grief still too enormous to grasp the tragedy that killed 11 and wounded six at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Across the region, Pittsburgh is coming together in heartfelt gestures of healing.

We are more accustomed to coming together for celebrations – Steelers and Penguins championship parades, annual events like Light Up Night, countless fireworks shows on warm summer nights.

We’ve known deep pain, but not like this. The steel industry collapse played out over decades. While its echoes still haunt us, our region has recovered economically. We make list after list of top communities in which to live, work or dine.

Now, we top a list no one wants to make: The deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto called the shooting of worshippers during Saturday services the “darkest day in Pittsburgh’s history.”

Pittsburgh took two decades to work through the pain of the steel collapse. It took 20 minutes to plunge us into the abyss of grief from the Tree of Life attack.

How long will it take us to recover? It’s too early to know. It is not too early to know that, just as Pittsburghers put their shoulders into recovering from the steel collapse, we will put our hearts and our hands into recovering from this tragedy.

As we comfort those who hurt, and pledge “never again” to the hate that spawned this violence, let’s hope and pray that Pittsburgh climbs to the top of another list: For healing, for making sense of the senseless and for setting a new course in the fight to eradicate hate.

We plan to participate in this effort. Do you have perspective or resources to share? Are you planning an event or effort to help the community recover? Email editor@thepittsburgh100.com. We’d be delighted to share your story of healing.

Paul Furiga, WordWrite Communications

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The Pittsburgh 100