Admin on October 31, 2023
Remarks made on October 27, 2023
5th Year Community Commemoration of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting
Rev. Liddy Barlow and Rabbi Ron Symons
On this sacred and liminal day, we stand together as spiritual siblings looking back on these past five years, considering our learning, cherishing times of joy, remembering moments of challenge.
On this tender and poignant day, we stand together as interfaith bridge builders, representing so many partners across the faith community, continuing to mourn our neighbors who died for no other reason than their Jewish faith and commitment to a better world.
And so, on this holy and reflective day we hope for even more bridge building; we look ahead to better times.
Both our Jewish and Christian traditions look forward, beyond the bounds of human sight, to a day when all things will be reconciled and made new. In the Christian tradition, we yearn for the Kingdom of God, inaugurated but not yet fulfilled. In the Jewish tradition, we look to olam ha ba, the world to come, the world yet to be.
Since its publication in 1979, Judy Chicago’s poem “Merger” has been adopted by many as a beloved glimpse of that vision. Today we share that poem, and our own hopes for a better future.
And then all that has divided us will merge
And then Pittsburgh’s 91 neighborhoods
will understand that what happens in 1 neighborhood
impacts the 90 others.
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then those for whom Pittsburgh is most livable
will share the resources needed to uplift us all
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind
And then Pittsburghers
will approach each other
with a kindness that comes from deep inside.
And then both men and women will be gentle
And then Pittsburghers of all genders
will be treated with gentleness.
And then both women and men will be strong
And then all Pittsburghers
will find strength from one another.
And then no person will be subject to another’s will
And then every Pittsburgher
will have equal access to opportunity.
And then all will be rich and free and varied
And then all varied Pittsburghers
will know a richness of the spirit within,
free to worship without fear of hate.
And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many
And then all Pittsburghers
will be afforded the respect of being a human.
And then all will share equally in the Earth’s abundance
And then Pittsburghers across our neighborhoods
will enjoy the beauty of God’s green earth.
And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
And then all of us in Pittsburgh
will be committed to the words of the Psalmist (79)
“Do not cast me away in my old age.”
And then all will nourish the young
And then we will see all Pittsburgh’s children as our children
And then all will cherish life’s creatures
And then every Pittsburgher will
be valued as created in God’s image.
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again
May it be so, and may we make it so,
Here in Pittsburgh and across the world with God’s blessing.
We must do all of this together.