LIVERPOOL-born Hadassah Max has spoken of the shock felt throughout the Pittsburgh Jewish community at the atrocity of the synagogue shooting which killed 11 last month.
But the 41-year-old mother-of-three — to Alia, Judah and Micah — who lives less than a mile from the Tree Of Life synagogue, told me that nobody was surprised.
She said: “I went to kabbalat Shabbat service last Friday, which is something I never usually go to.
“I felt it was important to be there with my kids.
“Not only were there armed police officers in the building but there was an armed officer in the room.
“I was hoping my children wouldn’t notice him, but my eight-year-old daughter said there was a policeman with a gun.
“I asked her how she felt and she told me that she felt uncomfortable.
“I never would have imagined that something like this was needed.”
The daughter of Liverpool pair Jeff and Paula Max recalled the events of that horrific day.
She first found out about the attack on a Facebook group containing parents from her children’s Jewish community school in Squirrel Hill.
The wife of doctor Jonathan said: “Someone posted a message saying there was an active shooter at the shul and to stay away.
“I was reading the messages, and texted him. He told me that his hospital was on lock-down.
“I called my parents, to let them know what was going on, and also to let them know we were safe.
“My husband had grown up with the daughters of one of those killed.
“He stayed at the hospital until he was told he was no longer needed — it was where the victims were being treated.”
The Pittsburgh community has been the epicentre of a worldwide outpouring of emotion, with communities in all countries showing support.
Mrs Max continued: “People have taken a lot of strength in being together.
“We have felt very supported by the larger Pittsburgh community and the outside messages.
“People have really wanted to join together.
“We aren’t afraid to be Jewish and practise it, just more aware.
“We are far more security conscious now.”
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