Jews from all over Los Angeles came together on Sunday for a vigil in support of the families who were affected by terror Saturday morning in Pittsburgh. With a growing list of 64 Jewish organizations sponsoring the vigil, the question must be asked: What moves a people to such a sensibility of collective responsibility?
The Jewish people are a diasporic people. Our collective memory includes narratives of exile and persecution, of injustice and fear. These fundamental aspects of our identity are far-reaching and resilient. Regardless of ancestry, Jewish affiliation, or diasporic journey, the Jews of the United States generally share one thing in common: fleeing their homes in the face of persecution.
This lived persecution permanently affects a people, their communities, their kids, and even the bonds their kids make with others. The Jewish people consists of communities that experience these phenomena both consciously and subconsciously. It’s through these experiences that Jews come together. It’s not sympathy, it’s lived empathy.
I, an Iranian-descending American Jew, share a narrative with my European-descending American Jewish friends, and it’s stronger than sharing a patriarch and eating matza on Passover. It takes no consideration for religious observance, or cultural fluency, it is simply that we share our histories — they are intertwined, united, and the same.
When tragedy strikes for the Jews in Pittsburgh, it is almost second nature for the Jews in other cities to resonate and feel a sense of solidarity and responsibility. The Jews of Pittsburgh are my brothers. That’s what creates this sense of responsibility.