How to start? I just broke down. I was overcome with this overwhelming feeling of helplessness and despair. What can I do? I am just one person and the world feels as if it is crumbling around me. How did they survive? This was just one incident, 11 beautiful souls were lost to us. How did they cope with hundreds of their neighbors being lost?
The actions this past weekend in Pittsburgh were horrific, that goes without saying. But Now What? This news cycle will pass, people will go back to their lives, every so often someone will bring up the topic, but in general - Now What? What can we do differently? How do we affect change?
Anti-Semitism exists, it always has, just look at history. Hatred exists. Look at the world today. This weekend this hatred manifested in anti-Semitism. Next week it may be against black people, or gay people, or Muslims. How do we combat hate? I live in a nice area, well educated people surround me, and yet my own children have faced this discrimination. My daughter had pennies thrown at her, and most recently a young man told her "if Hitler was still around we would live in a Utopia". Yep - that happened here. Now what? She wants to do something, make a change, educate her peers. I give her a lot of credit. She recognized that it most likely was not a statement coming from a place of knowledge, but rather a statement coming from a place of ignorance. Children hearing things, whether at home, or from their peers, and not truly understanding the meaning behind those words.
So Now What you say? You have heard this before - we must start with our children. Not every home will be loving, not every home will embrace the ideals of love, respect and tolerance, so it is up to our school systems to embrace the change. Teach our children the true meaning of respect and tolerance. Use the lessons of the past to shape the future. Do not just teach history, truly learn from it, apply it to today and create actionable results. Get our youth to understand the differences between us all and appreciate those differences for what they are - the beautiful tapestry that makes this country as great as it is.