The shots that killed the eleven worshipers at Tree of Life Synagogue on October 27, 2018 reverberated throughout the region and the entire world.
For many of us, it was intensely personal. One of the victims was Joyce Feinberg. Joyce was a long-time client and one of the nicest women I’ve ever worked with. One consolation is that not only did the Jewish community come together, but there was an outpouring of support throughout Pittsburgh and even all over the world.
All the flowers and memorials have been moved inside the Tree of Life lobby now. With the passage of time, the stress of daily life and the onslaught of other horrific events, it is normal for our attention to turn elsewhere. We must never become numb to the tragedy. The most basic thing that all of us can do for the victims is to never forget them, and in their memory, work for good.
Anti-semitism in Pittsburgh is nothing new. Back in the 1920s my great grandmother, Annie Jacob Davis, and others helped establish Montefiore Hospital, one of many Jewish hospitals in the U.S. One of the primary purposes of the Jewish hospitals was to employ qualified Jewish doctors who could not get work elsewhere.
But, unfortunately, more blatant acts of anti-semitism are growing at an alarming rate. In 2017, anti-Semitic incidents surged nearly 60 percent according to the 2017 Anti-Defamation League Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. The ADL is one of, if not the most respected organizations fighting anti-semitism and racial injustice.
I sit on the advisory board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and several other board members approved this message, so this isn’t just my opinion.
The issue for many of us, including me up until recently, is we didn’t know what to do.
Please allow me to recommend two resources: Locally, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is engaged in a “If you SEE something, SAY something!” campaign to help identify and assess any potential threats to our community. Please visit www.jewishpgh.org for details.
On a national level, ADL has 10 action steps you can take to fight anti-Semitism and racial injustice around the world. On their site, www.adl.org, on a page called “Take Action,” the ADL outlines those 10 things which can combat hate now. Since learning of this resource, I took eight out of ten of the recommended steps. Most can be done quite easily. Of course, ADL has a link to a page for donations, but that is only one of their action points. Please go to www.adl.org to learn more.
If you would prefer making a local impact, please visit the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s website at www.jewishpgh.org.
Jim Lange’s 2018-2019 Tax Planning Card is now available as a free download at paytaxeslater.com/taxcard. This card helps you estimate your federal taxes and includes tables for standard deductions, retirement plan contribution limits and Social Security tax. If you would like help minimizing your taxes or understanding how you might benefit from a Roth conversion, please call our office at 412-521-2732.