Sisterhood Blog

Finding Judaism in Newtown Tragedy

By Johnna Kaplan

Getty Images

While 26 people were being massacred at an elementary school in Newtown, I was 50 miles away in Hartford, talking on the radio about the eccentricities of Connecticut. Town nicknames, historical tidbits, “Nutmeggers” vs. “Connecticutians,” that sort of thing. The show was over at 10:00 am ET; I have no idea when the first fragmentary reports made it onto the air.

On my way home, I stopped briefly to talk to my mom on the phone. “There was a shooting at a school in Newtown,” she told me. “Sandy Hook.” Though I write about Connecticut frequently, my awareness of Newtown was primarily geographical. I knew it was an hour and a half from where I live and 40 minutes from where I grew up — New England countryside meets New York suburbia. “Like, a real shooting?” I asked.

I kept driving, checking Twitter updates at every stoplight, and the news slowly spun out like a spool of evil thread, and with the rest of the state I abandoned what I had planned to do that day and sat, numb, switching between channels live-streaming the horror, watching as the world watched us.

Connecticut spent that day, and the following days, in a sort of collective daze. (I am not sure we’re out of it yet; the flags have been raised to full staff and they look out of place there.) But my focus on my home state was interrupted and complicated from the beginning by nagging Jewish thoughts.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: jewish, newtown, noah pozner, rampage, sandy hook, shooting




Find us on Facebook!
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.