BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Inside the doors of the Jewish Community Center in Park Heights, burning candles and burning questions help process the pain of the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history.
Baltimore’s Jewish community is offering to help its members, providing counselors in special sessions Tuesday to talk about the mass shooting in Pittsburgh and offer guidance on how to tell children about it.
Jewish Community Services started putting the programs together Sunday night, after many people reached out, asking for ways to process the shooting themselves and explain it to their children.
‘It’s amazing that we have something like this available,” said Jamie, with Strong Community.
Group Counseling by Jewish Community Services is helping parents and the community deal with anxiety, stress and even fear of safety at a synagogue.
“Kids, really, most of the time what they’re asking, regardless of the question that comes out of their mouth is: ‘Am I safe? And are you safe?’ said Stacey Meadows, manager of Child Therapy Services.
For parents and young kids, it’s welcome help.
“I wanted time to be able to process it before I had to explain to her. And coming to a meeting like this today was amazing in really figuring out the things I wasn’t sure I should say to her,” said Jessica Fink, a mother of two.
Jewish Community Services said they are prepared to mobilize their resources in the event Pittsburgh counselors are overwhelmed.
“…and that could either be by phone if they really needed us to be there because we are trained in critical incident response,” said Joan Grayson Cohen, with Jewish Community Services.
For now, therapists are focusing on the Baltimore community, coping with hate and anti-semitism.
“It really reaches the core of who we are, our belief set. And so when these things happen, even if it’s in our community or in a community that’s different than ours, maybe religious beliefs, it still feels a lot more personal,” Meadows said.
A session for parents runs from 7-8 p.m. at the Owings Mills JCC.
Jewish Community Services offers resources at any time, and a list of resources can be found here.