Pittsburgh Jews and Muslims

When a white supremacist attacked our community in October, the local Muslim community was there for us immediately. They raised money, and they also offered their services for everything from security to errands. Our communities have worked well together for years (my rabbi has been instrumental in that).

When I heard about the attack on mosques in New Zealand I of course donated to help. Tree of Life has raised about $58,000 so far, and the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh also has a fund. (I don't see a total there for the latter, though I heard on Shabbat that it was around half a million.) And then I heard that our local Islamic center, the very people who offered to help guard our synagogues if needed, don't have the level of security they need either, so I also made a donation to them toward bolstering their security. (I got that idea, and news of the need, from my rabbi.)

I heard after the fact that on the Sunday after the attack, members of the Jewish community showed up there for their Sunday school, for solidarity and to add some extra protection layers around their kids. (I didn't get the memo.) This past Friday, their community joined ours for Shabbat dinner and services. Their director has spoken at our synagogue.

There's hate out there directed at both of our groups, and there is hate out there between Muslims and Jews in some places, but I'm glad that here in Pittsburgh our communities are friends who help each other, and I'm glad that, just as Muslims around the world helped Jews in Pittsburgh, Jews in Pittsburgh are helping Muslims in New Zealand.

May the day come when none of this is necessary, when we can spend our resources on building and strengthening instead of rebuilding and fortifying.