Former Rabbi of Targeted Pittsburgh Synagogue Speaks Out

“On Sabbath, an open door.”

Rabbi Chuck Diamond, a former Rabbi at Tree of Life Synagogue.AP/Gene J. Puskar

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When Chuck Diamond heard there had been a shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life congregation, he started heading right over. He was stopped at a police barricade several blocks away, as investigators on the other side reckoned with the scene of destruction that has left multiple people dead, and at least four police officers wounded. Diamond, who served as a rabbi at Tree of Life for seven years until departing about a year and a half ago, was huddling with community members and coming to grips with the idea that he would know some of the killer’s victims.

“Knowing of the parties involved…I’m nervous,” he said.

Diamond—”people call me Rabbi Chuck”—says there’s nothing about the congregation he once led, located in the traditionally Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, that would stand out and make it a target. “It’s surprising,” he said. “It’s quiet.”

“This is known as the Jewish area in town. This is a great place to be a Jewish person,” Diamond said.

In his time with the congregation, Diamond says they got some security advice from the local Jewish federation, but never received any threats. But the notion that something could happen, Diamond says “has always been a thought in the back of my mind.”

While the building is locked on weekdays, “on Sabbath, an open door. Someone could have just walked in the building and…” Diamond said, choosing not to finish the sentence.

 

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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