Like thousands of others, I read the headlines and Tweets from the Forward and other Jewish publications about the Newtown school massacre.
One read, “Rabbi consoles relatives of #Newtown shooting victims … fears one victim could be #jewish..” And I read replies on Facebook, which lambasted the paper for focusing on Jewish victims. They apparently interpreted highlighting Jewish victims as downplaying the grief we feel for all the victims, whatever their religion.
While part of me agrees that we should not write such ethnocentric headlines, another part of me wanted to read those stories first. And when I did, the tears came faster because the connection was a little more direct.
As outsiders not directly impacted by the events, we search for a way into the story. Since I grew up in a small town near Newtown and have a child in kindergarten, the news hit home on many levels.
We all search until we find a connection. Until that moment when it hits home and we can imagine our own children, our own schools, and, for a moment, our own grief.
Rabbi Shaul Praver moved many to tears when he recited El Maleh Rachamim, a prayer of mourning, at last night’s vigil for those killed in the deadly rampage in Newtown, Conn.
Today, he will oversee the funeral of Noah Pozner, the youngest victim of the shooting.