On Saturday night, Oct. 27, 2018, the Chronicle began working anew on its next issue, which would go to press just three days later.
The newspaper we would ultimately put out that week could not be more different from the one we originally had planned, a special “party issue” in which we were going to feature stories about trends in b’nai mitzvah celebrations and unique wedding venues. In fact, all the party stories were finished, edited, and ready to run.
Of course, we could not run a party issue that week, or in the weeks and months that followed. In fact, we have yet to run to it.
Jewish Pittsburgh has been in a state of mourning this past year. While not all of us lost family members or friends to the ravages of a murderous anti-Semite that day, we nonetheless felt shock, grief, anger and despair. As part of the larger Jewish community, we all were attacked.
Our sages were specific in prescribing mourning rituals, setting out appropriate times frames in which to mourn each type of relative, and detailing which types of activities should be avoided accordingly. The longest period of time that one should mourn is one year, and that is for a parent. Parties and other festivities, both public and private, should be avoided during those 12 months, as those types of activities are considered joyous, and it is almost absurd to imagine a child who is grieving the loss of a parent partaking in such events.
Although throughout our lives we continue to feel the loss of those we love, our tradition nonetheless directs us to rejoin our community in celebratory affairs and to resume normal activities after the formal mourning period has concluded.
It has now been 12 months on the secular calendar since the massacre at the Tree of Life building, the most violent attack against Jews ever to have been committed in America. We know that as a community, we will feel the pain of that day indefinitely. We will continue to miss those who were murdered. We will continue to join together in finding ways to fight hatred, against Jews and others. We will, no doubt, continue to weep from time to time.
Although Oct. 27 will resonate for some as marking a year since the massacre, Nov. 16, the 18th of Cheshvan, is the yahrzeit date for Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Dan Stein, Mel Wax and Irving Younger. The yahrzeit date will mark the end of the formal mourning period for their children.
Whether one can relate more to the date of Oct. 27 or the 18th of Cheshvan, it is our hope that as a community we are ready now to re-open ourselves to the joyfulness that helps define a meaningful Jewish life.
Throughout the past year, the Chronicle, a weekly paper, has published hundreds of stories about the Oct. 27 massacre, its aftermath and its effect on Jewish Pittsburgh and the wider world. We value, and will continue to value, the opportunity to do so.
We are also eager to resume an editorial emphasis on Jewish happenings and issues here that we anticipate will reflect a community that is moving beyond trauma.
While we recognize that Jewish Pittsburgh may be fundamentally and permanently changed in a myriad of ways, we are looking forward to joining the community in getting back to the business of joy.
No date is set, but at some point, look for our party issue. pjc