Your Next Jewish Read: Squirrel Hill

Title: Squirrel Hill – The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood

Author: Mark Oppenheimer

Year of Publication: 2021

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Why I Bought It/Borrowed It: I borrowed this book from my local public library after I heard Mark Oppenheimer talking with Liel Leibovitz on either the Unorthodox podcast or the Take One podcast. I can’t remember which. Both are definitely worth listening to on a regular basis.

Two Sentence Summary: I know you don’t want to read this book because it’s terrifying and heartbreaking and you just don’t want to deal, but this book, although it’s about a shooting, is really about a neighborhood which you will definitely want to read about. I think you may even find yourself wishing you could move to Squirrel Hill.

In the end, then, I wrote a hopeful sort of book, one that described the extraordinary outpouring of goodwill that can follow even the most horrific event. I got to describe the dawn, how “joy comes in the morning,” to quote the Psalm. There was a lot of morning joy in Squirrel Hill, the neighborhood where Tree of Life sits; there is no neighborhood in the country with an older, more stable Jewish presence, and its tight-knit, communal spirit was on full display. 

Mark Oppenheimer, “The Soul of a Neighborhood”: Three Years After the Shooting, Mark Oppenheimer Finds a Hopeful Story in Squirrel Hill (Op-Ed) From: Exploring Hate: Antisemitism, Racism, and Extremism, October 19, 2021.
Keep on Reading on! xo, Amy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *