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A Peek At Squirrel Hill Tragedy Through A Child’s Eyes

Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill shooting

As YaJagoff, you are used to silliness and fun. The job is to keep things light.  But, this weekend, with what occurred at the Tree of Life Synagogue, Rachael and John struggled with what THEIR role should be regarding the tragedy as a media outlet and as Pittsburghers who share the sadness of others over what occurred.

Rachael’s kids are young and they had questions about what happened. Below is her recap of those conversations. 

Put YOUR thoughts below in the comments.

  • What are those things on their heads?
  • What is a synagogue (pronounced incorrectly)?
  • Where is that place, is it in Pittsburgh?
  • Do I know any of them?
  • Why did that man do that?
  • How did he get in?
  • Why didn’t Jesus help?


They are called yamakas and Jewish people wear them as part of custom.

A synagogue, said correctly, is a place of worship like a church.

Squirrel Hill is a beautiful and tradition-filled neighborhood 20 minutes from us.

You do not know any of those killed.

That man who committed the crime was twisted and full of hate.

I don’t know how he got in.

The one question I can’t answer, but faith can.

Simply put, educate. Teach children other customs, other traditions, or at least that they exist.  Teach children what else is in Pittsburgh, explore its beauty and appreciate it, don’t be afraid of something different. Teach them hatred is not an option, neither is fear. Teach them faith—no matter what it looks like.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who suffered, their families, the first responders, the health professionals, and most importantly humankind for positivity and humane improvement, and for faith that we can improve.

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