Community response to trauma: finding healing and helpful responses to a tragic event

JCC Center for Lovingkindness and Christian Associates of SW PA, interfaith gatherings after the Tree of Life shooting

THE CHALLENGE: The situation seemed to call for urgent action, but the trauma was disorienting, disabling.

After the Tree of Life shooting in November of 2018, we were tapped by the JCC’s Center for Lovingkindness to assist in hosting two gatherings of interfaith clergy from around the region. The first, only about a month after the event, brought 150 clergy members of all faiths together for a simple, profound, whole-room time of seeing and supporting one another. “What’s present for you now?” Two months later, after much good care, conversation and attention by many in the community, we helped host a second time. Using an “open space” approach, a dozen small groups took first steps toward action across a broad range of intentions