Jeffrey Myers, the rabbi of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, wrote of finding joy in life in his final blog post before Saturday’s mass shooting, People is reporting.
Myers was not among the victims of the shooting, which claimed the lives of 11 people and injured seven others. By all accounts, the shooting was an act of hate, as alleged perpetrator Robert Bowers is believed to have been motivated by antisemitism and a desire to murder Jews.
In a glaring bit of irony, however, Myers’ final blog post before the shooting was an appeal to his readers to find joy in life.
In the post, titled “A Little Bit Of Joy,” Myers tells his readers that life is filled with sad events, such as funerals. But life is, hopefully, equally filled with joyous events – births, weddings. And Myers writes that we should prioritize the joyous events in our goals and in our memories.
“Like the needle on the car dashboard that shows you how much gas remains in the tank, so too is our [joyful event] tank gradually emptying… Every birthday celebration unobserved is one less opportunity in your tank. You can respond with, ‘Oh well, there is always next year.’ None of us can say with certainty that there is always next year.”
Pittsburgh Rabbi recounts moment shooting began Rabbi Jeffery Myers of the Tree of Life Synagogue describes the how the tragic events at his place of worship began to unfold as a gunman opened fire on Jewish worshipers. https://t.co/2gS1QbVybD #Video #USRC pic.twitter.com/jD97eq72nt— U.S. Reality Check???? (@USRealityCheck) October 29, 2018
In fact, the name of the Tree of Life Synagogue is itself an English translation of its original Hebrew name: L’Simcha. A “Simcha” in Judaism is celebration or a party – that is, the same joyous events that Myers spoke of in his blog post.
Elsewhere on his blog, Myers is unafraid to discuss politics. And indeed, in what may have been a horrifying bit of foreshadowing, back in July Myers wrote about gun control. In a blog post titled “We Deserve Better,” Myers called out politicians who speak of the need for reliable gun control in the wake of mass shootings, but then conveniently forget about it once the news has died down.
“Unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the mid-term elections, I fear that that the status quo will remain unchanged, and school shootings will resume. I shouldn’t have to include in my daily morning prayers that God should watch over my wife and daughter, both teachers, and keep them safe. Where are our leaders?”
Meanwhile, according to WHNS-TV (Greenville, South Carolina), Myers has extended an invitation to Donald Trump to visit Pittsburgh in the wake of the shooting.
“I’m a citizen. He’s my president. He is certainly welcome.”