Could family history with anti-Semitic violence explain the intensity of grief over the Tree of Life attack?

By November 6, 2018 No Comments

Jordana Rosenfeld, 24, realized that the intense emotions she often feels and felt upon learning of the synagogue shooting may be due to trauma passed on through generations, stemming from anti-Semitic violence. (Photo: Kat Procyk/PublicSource)

The air around me felt thick as I raced to a television to turn on the news. At the sight of the familiar intersection of Shady and Wilkins, made strange by police tape and news cameras, I burst into tears. Dizzy, my limbs suddenly impossibly heavy, I collapsed into a chair in my Point Breeze living room and focused on my breath.

My head has ached almost nonstop since the moment I heard the words, “active shooter situation” at Tree of Life. Every soft tissue of my body seems to articulate grief. The emotional and physical pain has persisted, even after I learned I wasn’t personally acquainted with any of the people murdered. At first, I was at a loss to explain the intensity of my grief.

For the first 20 years of my life, I tried to avoid experiencing sadness, grief and anger, thinking I could push away or bury my pain. Once I realized this was a doomed errand and finally took a serious look at everything I was holding inside myself, I began to think it might not all be mine.

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