Reading to Cope with Tragedy
at Tree of Life

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When faced with the tragic synagogue shooting in our community, many readers will turn to books to find solace in sound thinking and good writing about difficult topics. The following are titles that some of our librarians think might be useful in coping with this loss and with reflecting on and understanding Jewish thinking on grief and finding strength in the face of unimaginable tragedy.


Through the hard work of Kristen Keller, a CLP – Squirrel Hill children’s librarian, and the generosity of a small group of private donors, there is now a collection of books available at CLP – Squirrel Hill for community members to take and keep. The titles have been carefully chosen by librarians, and they span a variety of topics and age groups. We invite you to help yourself to a book that you feel will be beneficial to you and your family. They are yours to keep and/or share—we hope they help.

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Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Difficult Times

Publisher’s weekly noted that with this book Terkel, who was famous for his oral histories, “focuses here on hope as the universal detritus of experience.” For this book, Terkel shares the wisdom of a range of people who have found hope in the face of daunting social challenges.

Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement

In the wake of the tragic mass shooting Parkland, Florida, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School organized a national movement to rally young people to put an end to school shootings. With these books, these young people assert their vision for how we can change our society to prevent further violence.

#NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line

In the wake of the tragic mass shooting Parkland, Florida, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School organized a national movement to rally young people to put an end to school shootings. With these books, these young people assert their vision for how we can change our society to prevent further violence.

My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging

Remen, a physician and bestselling author, reflects on lessons she learned from her grandfather, a rabbi who taught her the value of service to heal loneliness and pain. Remen shows us the importance of taking care of one another, a need which is at the heart of her work with terminally ill patients.

Night

Night is Elie Wiesel’s masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps.

On Grief and Grieving

Heather Butts wrote in a review this posthumous book that psychiatrist Kubler-Ross “contributed immensely to the public’s understanding of how we die, how we prepare ourselves for death but, ultimately, how we live.” This book weaves together theory and practical advice to help people understand how they move through stages of grief.

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts, was an early innovator in teaching people to practice “mindfulness” as a way of dealing with stress, pain, and adversity. This practical guide provides a primer that could help just about anyone find a much-needed dose of peace and restfulness.

Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence

In the aftermath of the 2015 murder of nine Charleston church members by a white supremacist, Professors Chad Williams, Kidada E. Williams, and Keisha N. Blain started sharing links to scholarly and historical resources on Twitter using the hashtag #charlestonsyllabus. These readings, which provide a context for understanding the history of bigotry that led to the shooting, are gathered in this volume, along with additional essays and discussion questions.