My Pittsburgh Project

By Lila Zinner

I created this project as a part of the Rising Voices Fellowship of the Jewish Women’s Archive, which gives myself and 17 other Jewish teen girls a platform to express our ideas through blog writing. Our cohort decided to respond to the shooting in an extra, free-form post.

After the shooting, I felt helpless. I turned to my many Jewish communities for support, by attending vigils and engaging in meaningful conversations with fellow Jewish teens at my shul, Temple Sharey Tefilo Israel, and at teen programs at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. These interactions gave me the support, love, and most importantly, hope that I needed to move forward. I know that many Jews are not as lucky as I am. Jewish people make up just 1.4% of the U.S. population, so many Jews in America lack the strong community that I am so grateful to be a part of.

When faced with the challenge of constructing a free-form post, I knew I wanted to share with my audience what had helped me: my Jewish community. With the help of my film-savvy friend, Alex Ferrandiz, I recorded and interviewed some of the many inspiring Jewish people I know, including my clergy members, youth program leaders, and friends. In posting this film, I want to share that same sense of support and inspiration with my audience; I want to show them that even in times as dark as these, there is an abundance of hope within us. We stand together. We are stronger than hate.

Lila Zinner, 16, was an Iris Teen Tzedakah advisor and is currently a member of Iris Teen Mitzvot and on the JServe Committee.