I recently had the honor to join in unity with fellow Chabad rabbis at the International Conference of Chabad emissaries.
The annual conference was especially meaningful for us, as many of the family of shluchim have deep ties to Pittsburgh. My mother is from Pittsburgh, and I attended school there, living at my grandparents’ home just three blocks away from the Tree of Life*Or’Limcha synagogue.
Many of my classmates are now rabbis in Pittsburgh, and we spent some time together, listening to their firsthand accounts in horror and wonder. One of my friends who is an eighth grade teacher told me that, unlike many synagogues around the country, they did not have any police come to the synagogues in Squirrel Hill, as they were engaged at the shooting. They were on lockdown in their synagogue until almost noon.
Among the most meaningful moments of the conference weekend was the group photo. Four thousand rabbis all standing together, were led by the shluchim from Pittsburgh in the recital of chapter 20 of Psalms. They then joined together to sing Ani Ma’amin, a solemn song of faith. The incredible feeling of pain and hope, sorrow and prayer felt overwhelming. As the weekend concluded, we embraced one another and resolved to remain committed to spreading light, one good deed at a time, until the time when the world will be completely lit, with the coming of the Moshiach.
Rabbi Shmully Litvin