By Miller Friedman
The mass shooting in Pittsburgh last October brought Jews everywhere together in mourning the lives of the 11 Jews who were murdered. On the anniversary, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington wants to bring Jews together in a moment of silence — via text message.
The initiative, called Pause with Pittsburgh, will take place on Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. and will consist of a text message that includes a video reading of a mourning prayer, a reading of the names of the 11 people who were murdered, and a livestream of Pittsburgh’s public service.
Pause With Pittsburgh is an initiative of Jewish Federations of North America, an umbrella for local Jewish federations across the continent, including Washington’s.
Gil Preuss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, said the text message is meant to be similar to Israel’s Memorial Day.
“In Israel, on Yom Hazikaron, there is a siren that goes off and everyone stops and the whole country gets out of their cars,” Preuss said. “To the degree possible, we want to recreate that here.”
Only those who sign up will receive the text message. Marla Schulman, a member of B’nai Israel Congregation, has signed up.
She said she signed up because she wanted to take action against anti-Semitism.
“The email to sign up came right after [the live-streamed attack on a synagogue in eastern Germany on Yom Kippur] and after my rabbi spoke on the High Holidays about antisemitism,” Schulman said. “I wanted to do something, and this felt like I would be coming together with the other people who will sign up.”
She said she appreciates the idea of text messaging as a means of remembrance.
“The fact that we can leverage technology to bring so many people together is great, and I am hopeful to see many people participate.”
Preuss said he hopes the digital memorial is more than a one off.
“I think it should be an annual thing,” Preuss said. “This was the most horrific attack that occurred in the Jewish community in the United States. We have to continue to fight antisemitism and bring the Jewish community together.”