How #Jewish Brings Newtown Rampage Home by the Forward

How #Jewish Brings Newtown Rampage Home

Like thousands of others, I read the headlines and Tweets from the Forward and other Jewish publications about the Newtown school massacre.

One read, “Rabbi consoles relatives of #Newtown shooting victims … fears one victim could be #jewish..” And I read replies on Facebook, which lambasted the paper for focusing on Jewish victims. They apparently interpreted highlighting Jewish victims as downplaying the grief we feel for all the victims, whatever their religion.

While part of me agrees that we should not write such ethnocentric headlines, another part of me wanted to read those stories first. And when I did, the tears came faster because the connection was a little more direct.

As outsiders not directly impacted by the events, we search for a way into the story. Since I grew up in a small town near Newtown and have a child in kindergarten, the news hit home on many levels.

We all search until we find a connection. Until that moment when it hits home and we can imagine our own children, our own schools, and, for a moment, our own grief.

At times like this, we are easily overwhelmed by numbers and facts; we all need to find smaller stories within the larger one to help us. We reach out to our families and neighbors and jump on line to get help from the media.

I am not exactly proud that I click first on the Jewish headlines but I am willing to admit that it opens a window that is small and discreet enough to allow me to look inside. And it is in looking inside that we find the place in us that trembles in fear and horror.

It reminds me of the passports with the story of a single individual that they give out to each visitor at the U.S. Holocaust Museum. People go numb when they look at the big picture. We all need a single name, image and story as a bridge to our grief. Of course, we cannot truly imagine what is like for the families involved but I think the process of connecting helps us to increase our own humanity a tiny bit.

In the coming days, many more of these bridges will appear as the media writes profiles and we see images of the children, teachers and staff. But in the immediate aftermath the stories in the Jewish press served as a bridge for Jewish mothers like me. And while I recognize there are millions of other paths into an event as large and horrible as this one, I appreciate that the Jewish press helped me find one of them.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.


How #Jewish Brings Newtown Rampage Home

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

How #Jewish Brings Newtown Rampage Home

Thank you!

This article has been sent!