One of the most important concepts in Judaism is “tikkun olam.” “Tikkun olam” is a Hebrew phrase that means “healing the world.” In the face of suffering, violence, hatred and division, we all must come together with understanding, compassion and empathy – and tikkun olam.
When I first heard the news that a gunman had opened fire on a synagogue in Pittsburgh during Shabbat services and a bris on Oct. 27, my heart shattered. Before we even knew the death toll or the number of people injured, I wept because this type of anti-Semitism is supposed to be a thing of the past. Growing up as a Jewish woman in America, my parents warned me that there are some people who don’t like us, but truly horrible crimes against Jewish people are something we don’t have to worry about anymore. I was taught that America is the place we are free to practice our religion, but that we cannot be complacent if that isn’t always the case.
In the aftermath of most tragedies, people rush to point fingers and try to find someone or something to blame. The scapegoat often ranges from guns to mental health, but this time it landed on how divided America is and how rhetoric from President Donald Trump gave way to widespread hate.
After a gunman shot and killed 11 Jewish people, there was a frenzy to find something to blame for this horrific incident. While there are clear signs that politics and political polarization played a role in the gunman’s motivations, solely focusing on that ignores the people who died and the struggles that Jewish people have faced throughout history. When I saw that conversation surrounding the issue focused on political rhetoric and saw my peers posting on social media platforms to…