After the horrific tragedy that happened at Tree of Life synagogue on the morning of October 27th, I have been numb. We have seen terrible things occur in our country, but you never thought it would happen in your neighborhood. I am not Jewish, but I can honestly say I am the person I am today because of the incredible Jewish community in Pittsburgh. I spent the first 10 years of my teaching career working at Community Day School, a K-8 private Jewish Day School. I was a young kid coming out of school, and I was accepted into this wonderful community. I learned about traditions and holidays; attended Bar and Batmitzvahs, and traveled to Israel with my students. More importantly I grew as a teacher, educator, and person of faith through my students, parents, colleagues, and now all life long friends.
I did not know any of the victims personally, but as I have read every article and social media post, I realized how connected I truly was via my past Community Day family. As many have asked themselves after this tragedy, what can I do? I didn't have a direct answer. I have prayed. I have reached out to many past students. I have also rejoiced in the amazing support from Pittsburgh and the country afterwards. All that said, I was still numb. Being a tech educator, I decided I needed a therapeutic outlet via my craft, so I went to the designing board. Even though, I can not take credit for the initial logo design above, I may be the first person to create the design in TinkerCAD and 3D print the small plaque. The design now hangs on my board in my classroom, and in some of my colleagues classrooms as well. Its a reminder to me of a terrible day in our community, but it also makes me proud to be part of such a loving, caring and accepting community. I am who I am because of my days teaching and learning in the Jewish community, and I hope I can continue to instill these qualities to my children and future students.
I will keep the victims, families and the community in my prayers daily, and I will always remember we are "Stronger Than Hate".