Cecil and David Rosenthal were buried in matching caskets made of wood, each adorned with a single Jewish star. The brothers, 59 and 54, were two of the 11 Jews killed in Pittsburgh on Saturday, remembered by all as irrepressibly friendly synagogue regulars. But they were also vulnerable in a different way than the other victims of the shooting at Tree of Life synagogue: The brothers lived with profound intellectual impairment; Cecil, for example, could neither read nor write.
The Tree of Life building is still closed, so other synagogues in the area have opened their doors to host funerals. A letter from a friend of the family’s was read at the brothers’ funeral on Tuesday at Rodef Shalom, a historic Reform synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was from a Catholic priest. Addressing Cecil and David’s parents, he wrote that God had “created your sons in his image,” a sentiment that captured the core theme of the funeral. Pittsburgh turned out en masse to pay respects to two men whose family referred to them throughout their adult lives as “the boys.” In the face of a dehumanizing shooting, the community resolutely reaffirmed the dignity of every individual. [Continue reading…]
A mourning family doesn’t want to meet him. Leaders of his own party declined to join him. The mayor has explicitly asked him not to come. Protesters have mobilized. And yet President Trump visited this grief-stricken city Tuesday, amid accusations that he and his administration continue to fuel the anti-Semitism that inspired Saturday’s massacre inside a synagogue.
The president and first lady Melania Trump arrived in Pittsburgh on Tuesday afternoon, not long after the first funerals began for the 11 victims of the mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue. More than 1,300 people have signed up for a demonstration at the same time — declaring Trump “unwelcome in our city and in our country.”
Congressional leaders from both parties — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) — have all declined invitations to join Trump on his visit, according to officials familiar with matter. (McConnell’s office said the Kentucky senator “has events in the state and was unable to attend.”)
So have relatives of at least one of the victims. [Continue reading…]