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Now What?

06/22/2023 04:17:42 PM

Jun22

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

We waited four years and eight months for one word, repeated sixty-three times loudly and clearly: guilty. While this might have created an opportunity for catharsis, sadly this is just the beginning. The past three weeks were incredibly painful for so many of us, and while this week offers a brief respite, the proceedings resume next week. This next phase, called the penalty phase, will be the time where the jury must determine if the crimes for which the perpetrator was found guilty merit the death penalty, and if yes, should that be his penalty. Early estimates anticipate that this process may take six weeks.

To review a bit of the past, at the time that the Attorney General, William Barr, determined that the US Government would seek the death penalty, we took the time to listen to what you thought and felt. It was clear that there was no consensus nor majority. Since we respect both points of view, our statement since that time has remained consistent: we have confidence in the judicial process. Just as I am the Rabbi of Republicans and Democrats, as well as lesser political parties, I am also the Rabbi of those in favor and those opposed. That position will not change throughout this new phase of the trial, and I am here to support everyone regardless of their feelings.

More important to me is how you are doing. I know that this has been an incredibly difficult time for you, and I hope that you are taking good care of yourself. I have learned through much work that I do have the tools in my toolbox to effectively deal with the trauma and pain, just as they helped me deal with 10.27. These same tools have been called upon once again during the trial. While I am not a mental health professional, permit me to share some things that I have found helpful, with the hopes that they might prove likewise for you.

  • Sometimes saying no to something so that I can take care of myself first.
  • Taking a walk.
  • The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, if not the offerings through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
  • Sitting on the porch and just listening to the birds.
  • Seeking out good comedians on streaming platforms. FaceTime with my children, with particular attention to my beautiful granddaughter.

We offer the opportunity to sit and talk after every Shabbat in Sixty service, replete with a nosh. We also offer time to gather at the Schenley Park Oval every other week, to likewise schmooze and nosh. While I cannot know what works best for you, as no two people are the same, I do know that creating opportunities for things that bring you joy are so very important at this critical time.

My blog will be taking a hiatus, as I begin time away to restart my healing. It has been a long and difficult road, but I remain hopeful that the neutral gear that we have been stuck in for nearly five years will soon end, and we can really begin to focus on life after. May you be able to find joyous moments in your daily life. I look forward to rejoining you soon. L’hitraot.

Sun, June 23 2024 17 Sivan 5784