Shocked, yet unsurprised, by Pittsburgh shooting

BRATTLEBORO — We are shocked, and yet with eyes open cannot be surprised by the violence that has stricken the Jewish community of Pittsburgh.

This hits every Jewish community close to home, and perhaps ours even closer: our former spiritual leader grew up in that same synagogue and had his bar mitzvah there at the age of 13. He knew someone killed in the shooting.

While it's easy to assume that these sorts of horrors could not happen here, we have witnessed threats against Jews in Brattleboro this year, including hate mail sent to our spiritual leader and a death threat against Jews written on Elliot Street.

These acts have resulted in the Jewish community asking for increased police presence for our holiday commemorations, a conversation we renewed with the Brattleboro police chief again recently.

We all feel the shadows of violent threats in every American community right now, toward Jews, toward immigrants, toward African-Americans, toward women, toward one another.

In this sad time, we are so proud to be part of such a wonderful community, thankful that so many of us are working to address these threats.

What more must we do locally - creatively and proactively - to respond and bring these dangers out of the darkness, where they can fester?

We must not hesitate in acting.

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