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a week that was

09/29/2022 09:03:09 AM

Sep29

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

The seven days leading up to Rosh Hashana this year were rather intense. It began when I had the distinct privilege of being invited to the White House for the United We Stand Summit against H. Words cannot describe the honor of walking through the White House to the East Room as a guest of the President (I have been invited to attend the President’s Rosh Hashanah gathering this Friday, which I must regrettably miss.). The morning sessions were powerful as I heard the graphic comments of fellow Americans impacted by acts of H.

Fast forward to the following Sunday evening, which was the welcoming dinner for the Global Eradicate H Summit in Pittsburgh. After the dinner, about twenty minutes of a film about 10.27 was shown. Partially through I had to walk out, with no disrespect intended towards the filmmaker, but I could not stay and watch. After two people in the lobby noted my distress and stayed with me, which was very kind, I took the escalators down towards the parking garage to go home. At the door to exit, a gentleman from Buffalo held the door for me, and as I read his name tag, I knew that his mother was one of the victims of the Tops market shooting. I introduced myself, and he said “Oh Rabbi”, and we tightly hugged. No words were spoken as none were necessary. It was at that moment that I welcomed him into the club that no one should have to join. He too left because he could not watch the film.

I had the opportunity to speak with Deputy Secretary of DHS John Tien, a Squirrel Hill native incidentally, and I remarked to him that I was a member of a club that I did not want to belong to, but felt compelled to do my best with that membership. He asked if he could quote me during his keynote, and he did.

That is when it occurred to me that between the White House Summit and the Global Eradicate H Summit, I had now participated in two meetings of my club.  The shared trauma of fellow club members was overwhelming, yet I also came to learn that we understand each other in a way that no one else can. We also comfort each other, find ways to strengthen each other, and reassure each other that no matter what, we will be present for each other. I took the time to greet the brother of the gentleman from Buffalo, who responded to me identically as his brother did the prior evening. He shared with me how uplifting their visit to Pittsburgh had been, how they were physically hugged by our victim’s families, and embraced by all of Pittsburgh. I know that moving forward we will continue to be a presence in their lives in whatever way they need us.

As Rosh Hashana began, I was grateful for the support of my President and all of the Federal Government and the countless professionals who attended the Global Eradicate H Summit who are fully engaged in eradicating H. I also learned that my responsibility is to be on the Membership Committee in my club, and despite my desire to disband the club, which I cannot do, I must embrace all the current members and sadly welcome new members. It is a task I accept but wish I didn’t have to.

Fri, December 9 2022 15 Kislev 5783