During Shabbat morning services last Saturday, eleven people were murdered at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue by a gunman who shouted “All Jews must die” as he opened fire. The gunman is in custody and the FBI is investigating the killings as a hate crime. As we wrote immediately upon hearing the news yesterday, we are heartsick at these antisemitic murders.
All of us at Facing History approach our work with the sure belief that education can make a difference. We support educators and students as they model and craft better communities, in classrooms and across society. If we help them address and eliminate baseless hatred, we are helping to create a world that is less violent, more just, and more equitable.
So even as we mourn the week’s events, even as we tend to one another’s broken hearts, even as we silently wonder what in the world is happening… our team has been responding and shaping the support we can offer to teachers. In this Teaching Idea, Responding To Pittsburgh, we offer some suggestions for opening a conversation about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and other recent events with your students, as well as selected resources to examine antisemitism and religious bigotry and to explore the role we all can play in standing up to hate.
As students head back into the classroom, Facing History is grateful for the teachers who will, once again, create safe spaces through the sadness and despair, for dialogue and comfort. We’re proud to partner with our educators in the commitment to fighting hate, racism, and antisemitism. Let’s also recommit to nurturing democracy. Let’s recommit to building a world guided by knowledge and compassion. With everything we know about the past up to this moment, this is what it means to face history now.