One of the many beautiful passages in the cherished Union Prayer Book regularly used at my synagogue is the following plea to our God, “...Plant virtue in every soul and may the love of thy name hallow every home and every heart...” All one need do is read a newspaper or view a television newscast to recognize that we live in a world in which virtue, decency, and civility are in sharp decline.
This stark realization has most recently come home to our community through the horror of the brutal slaying of a 90-yearold Squirrel Hill man who, by all accounts, was a good, decent, giving individual seeking to peacefully live out the ﬁnal segment of life in his home.
An incident such as the Squirrel Hill murder shatters our sense of calm and conﬁdence, and causes us to recognize that, regrettably, there are no guarantees of comfort or safety in today’s world.
There is no way to digest or comprehend how a human being could wickedly and wantonly snuff out the life of someone who is elderly, frail and vulnerable, a man who did not live by the sword, and who did not deserve to die by it. I would contend that someone who commits such an act has sacriﬁced the humanity, soul, and conscience with which one presumes they were born. Reasonable suspicion would be that this unspeakable crime would be committed by a teenage or 20-something drug addict and that the victim had been targeted due to the belief that he would be an easy target.
A crime like this, and so many other abominations that occur, of which we learn every day, causes me to wonder what, if anything, will be left of our civilization years from now as we become a shadow of what we once were.
Our community remains an extraordinary place ﬁlled with individuals of substance, accomplishment, education, intellect, and decency. It would be gratifying to believe that our inﬂuence can help to make whole a world desperately in need of salvation, but as we reﬂect upon the abomination that claimed the life of a ﬁne man, we must recognize that this is not reality.
Oren M. Spiegler Upper St. Clair