Oppression: Tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue

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Few peoples have been more oppressed than the Jews. Their exile from their homeland by conquest by the Assyrians in 722 BC and by conquest by Babylon in 586 BC led to the formation of their holy texts and holding onto traditions in a foreign land. 

They are a holy people. 

The Jews returned to the Holy Land after Babylon was conquered by Cyrus the Great (576 – 530 BC). They were again scattered after the Roman destruction of the second Temple in 70 AD. In the Middle ages in Europe Jews were not allowed to own land to farm – they became money lenders, doctors, and artisans. This oppression ironically led to a cultural bias towards high education and professional accomplishment. As of 2017, Nobel Prizes have been awarded to 902 individuals, of whom 203 or 22.5% were Jewish although Jews are .2% of the world’s population. 

America has been a beacon of hospitality and welcome to the Jewish people. The first Jewish religious ceremony was in New York City (New Amsterdam) in 1654. In 1785 Benjamin Franklin gave money to the first synagogue in Philadelphia. More Jews live in the USA than any other place than Israel.

We should all stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters. Jesus was Jewish as were his first followers. For many years Roman Law considered Christianity as a branch of Judaism. The Old Testament is literally the Hebrew Scripture. 

We grieve and mourn at the loss of life at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

May they be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Traditional Jewish Prayer