“Why are you crying, Mom?” my 8-year-old asked. We were sitting on the couch eating cereal yesterday morning. I was mindlessly scrolling on my phone, just like every other morning, sipping my lukewarm coffee. But then I saw the news about the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.
It was a bris. The shooter opened fire on a bris. This made the tragedy even more disgusting, if that’s possible: something so sacred and innocent, undermined and ruined. Usually I read about these events with a sense of intellectualized horror. My thinking is abstract: “What can we do? How can this stop? How could they? Who is safe?”
This time, it was visceral. I couldn’t help it; I started to cry, sour tears running down my unwashed face and fogging up my glasses. It was a bris.
no posts foundI muttered to my son about reading something very sad, and he turned back to “The Loud House” without any further questions. I’m lucky, for now. He’s only 8. He’ll probably never hear about this incident. But soon enough he’ll hear about others. He might even be affected himself. Because in this world, in this current climate, we just don’t know. Nobody’s safe. And nobody’s innocent, for long.
Here are some trusted resources to help you and your own children make sense out of these senseless events:
- How to Talk to Kids About Anti-Semitism (JewishBoston, with advice from Rabbi Rachel Silverman at Sharon’s Temple Israel)
Talking to Children About Events in Pittsburgh and Anti-Semitism (InterfaithFamily)
- How to Talk to Children About Anti-Semitism (PJ Library)
- Helping Children Process Acts of Terrorism (ReformJudaism.org)
- Parent Resources: Tragic Events (Fred Rogers)
- Helping Children Cope: Tips for Talking About Tragedy (Mayo Clinic)
- After Terror: 5 Jewish Ways to Help Kids Deal (ReformJudaism.org)
- How to Talk With Kids About Terrible Things (NPR)
- Responding to Hate in America (NFTY)