Paper’s front-page Kaddish tribute

PAGE ONE: Mourners’ prayer... ‘may His great name be exalted and sanctified’

THE largest newspaper serving the Pittsburgh area, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, printed part of the Jewish mourners’ prayer in Hebrew as its front-page headline.

The first four words of Kaddish appeared as a tribute to the 11 people killed in the shooting atrocity at the Tree of Life synagogue.

The words mean “may His great name be exalted and sanctified”.

In a note to readers, David Shribner, the newspaper’s executive editor, explained the decision to include the Hebrew and Aramaic prayer.

“When you conclude there are no words to express a community’s feelings, then maybe you are thinking in the wrong language,” wrote Mr Shribner, who lives three blocks from the synagogue.

“That’s what prompted me to consider whether an excerpt from a 10th-century prayer might be the appropriate gesture — of respect, of condolence — for a 21st-century audience mourning its dead, whether family, friend, congregant, neighbour or, simply, Pittsburgher.”

Mr Shribner noted that it is the tradition for Jews in mourning to recite the prayer, usually while other congregants stand in solidarity.

“This week, each entire congregation — indeed all of Pittsburgh — may well stand, in spirit if not in fact,” he wrote.

“For if Pittsburgh’s passage in the past several days has shown anything, it is that these losses are all of ours, and that the solidarity of Pittsburgh’s grief is the face we have shown to the four corners of the earth.”

Historian Aaron Astor wrote on Twitter: “The Jewish mourners’ Kaddish is one of the most important prayers of all. This was a very moving gesture by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to post it as the headline.”

Jodi Kantor, an investigative journalist for the New York Times, wrote that the unusual headline is “the ultimate tribute to the victims — a statement that Jews belong”.

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