Love is the Answer!

‘Mineo’s Pizza House in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, makes the best pepperoni and sausage pizza in the world.’

‘ Those were words to live by as a child growing up in the early 1980’s in the black neighborhood of Wilkinsburg, in Pittsburgh’s East End.  The deliciousness of Mineo’s pizza made the five miles my brothers and I biked through the predominately Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill well worth it.  But the sweet cheeses and fresh meats weren’t the only things that brought us back.  We didn’t dare enter certain neighborhoods for fear of scrapping with white boys or not being served.  Squirrel Hill was one of the few nonblack neighborhoods that would welcome a group of black boys.’    Why Squirrel Hill Is a Target for White Supremacists, by Andre Perry, New York Times

‘The 11 worshippers were shot and killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in what is thought to be the worst anti-semitic attack in US history.’   CNN

‘ Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland neighborhood, Pittsburg;

Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross township, Pennsylvania;

Rose Malinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill neighborhood, Pittsburgh;

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood Borough, Pennsylvania;

Brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, 59 and 54, of Squirrel Hill;

Bernice and Sylvan Simon, 84 and 86, a married couple from Wikinsburg, PA;

Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill;

Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill; and

Irving Younger, 69, of Pittsburgh’s Mount Washington neighborhood.’    St. Louis Post Dispatch

When I was a teenager I attended a, small non-denominational, church, in Elkville, Illinois.  During the, early, 1970’s a cavalcade of Jewish hippies began attending our church.  They were from Chicago and had moved to Elkville and lived in an old farm house off the Royalton Blacktop road.

I made friends with; Michael Black and Michael Topple and Jeff Lestz.

I was still in high school, in Eldorado, Illinois and traveled to Elkville, a 50 mile journey, on the weekends to attend church service.

Often Michael Black would drive to Eldorado…to retrieve me and I would stay with him and his wife, Pam, on Saturday nights.  Michael was so kind to me and considerate;  Pam made me feel so welcome…that I felt like a member of the family.

I stayed at the commune, on several occasions, and was mesmerized by the inclusivity and love and oneness…that I felt in the group.  I ate Gefilte fish and Matzos and felt…very Jewish.

Michael Topple is one of the kindest people that it has been my privilege to meet.  He is one of those individuals that seems to be always upbeat and happy and caring for anyone that is in distress.

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Jeff Lestz and I became friends over 45 years ago.  He and Margo live in London, England, and it has been great fun to visit them on numerous occasions over the past few years.

I had the pleasure and honor of attending a seminar, that Jeff was conducting, near, York, England.

 

Jeff owns his own business and there were 75 – 100 people in attendance at the conference.  I marveled and was struck with the, individual, care and time that Jeff spent with each attendee.  These were people that were hungry for opportunity and in searching for a mentor!  Jeff, joyfully, mentored these folks…much as he has done for thousands of people over the last 40 + years!

I was the chair of the Civil Service Council for 5 years at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  During that time it was my custom to have a guest, from university administration, for our monthly meeting.  Although I attempted to have a member of the Board of Trustees as a guest…they seemed, to always be to busy.  However, when Dr. Samuel Goldman came aboard as a Trustee…he accepted my invitation…immediately.

Sam was consistently engaged with the cares and challenges of the civil service community on our campus.  He was the most accessible Trustee…that I have ever met.

Once Sam began coming to our meetings I invited him at least twice annually…or more…and he always…not only accepted…but left us encouraged and renewed!

Sam has functioned as the Rabbi for Congregation Beth Jacob for many years.

After his time as a member of the Board of Trustees, Sam became the chancellor of SIUC…and there has never been a better one!

Consistent with his openness and inclusivity…Chancellor Goldman spoke to me on a regular basis concerning the needs of the civil service community…and, even, took my advice, on occasion.

If I was told, today, that I had Jewish heritage…I would be ecstatic!

The only thing stronger than hate speech and acts of evil and oppression and genocide…is love!

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