The Tree of Life murders and trial, part IV: Survival

By Bill Simons 

During a recess in the Tree of Life trial, the corridor outside the courtroom was, as customary, congested. A large contingent of Tree of Life survivors, family and friends attended the sessions. A woman from that group approached and looked me in the eye. She said, “Writ…

In My Own Words: A few things, serious and silly

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Are they really serious? 

Imagine if you are in third grade and are not allowed to talk about your parents. Why? Because talking about them would somehow corrupt your classmates. Am I speaking of mass murderers or pedophiles? Nope. I’m talking about children wi…

From the Desk of the Federation Executive Director: With Gratitude 8/22/23

By Shelley Hubal

My father’s favorite blue and gray flannel shirt hangs on a hook in my closet. I wear it around the house on cold days, but try not to soil it because I can’t bring myself to put it in the wash. Last night I dreamt that the shirt was ruined beyond repair. I awoke with …

In My Own Words: Two 50th anniversaries

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

The fall Jewish holidays are normally a time to review the past year and decide what changes we want to make in our lives. But this year, I am also reflecting on two 50th anniversaries that occur this fall. One took place in early September and the other began in ei…

The Tree of Life murders and trial, part III: Judgment

By Bill Simons

For the survivors and families of victims, constantly in attendance – as well as the jury, judge, attorneys and journalists – at Pittsburgh’s United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, the U.S.A. v. Robert Bowers trial proved long, intense and drain…