Bound in the Bond of Life: Pittsburgh Writers Reflect on the Tree of Life Tragedy

Edited by Beth Kissileff and Eric Lidji. Univ. of Pittsburgh, $25 (264p) ISBN 978-0-8229-4651-9
This heartrending and vibrant collection brings together journalists, religious leaders, writers, and others to reflect on the 2018 mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. It opens with several essays providing a rich sense of Squirrel Hill, the Jewish neighborhood where the synagogue is located. Journalists recount reporting on the attack, while others remember being unable to follow the news because of Shabbat observance. Rabbi Daniel Yolkut shares two sermons (one from a week following the attack and one from a year later). Poets offer works that tie the tragedy to other mass shootings (Arlene Weiner’s “Shocked, Not Surprised”) or Jewish ritual (Jonathan Perlman’s “Eleh Ezkerah in Pittsburgh”). Historian Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg provides descriptions and photographs of the spontaneous memorials, and archivist Eric Lidji recounts his “tedium shot through with a complex, winding sorrow” as he collected and organized a historical record of the event. This remarkable collection is a powerful testament to how individuals and communities cope with an act of unbelievable violence. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/03/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Religion
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