I am a 15-year-old girl who lives in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh near the Tree of Life synagogue shooting. These are some poems that I wrote on the day of the attack.


“Oh, My People”

Oh, my people
How I mourn for you
How I cry for you
How I’d die for you
Oh, my people
You were just being you
There was nothing you could do
As he shot you down too
Oh, my people
I promise I’ll never forget
I promise that I won’t let
This promise be an empty regret
Oh, my people
This won’t have been for nothing
Everyone will remember something
This hate will end and we’ll all start loving
My people
When the kids are in charge
We won’t let this slide
We won’t let them hide
In the safety of their hate
My people
When the kids are in charge
We won’t stay silent
We won’t defend violent
Acts of anger and terror
And still
Oh, my people
How I long for you
Desperate pleas of safety
Tumbling from my lips
Oh, my people
How I love you
Oh, my people
We will be strong


“Heal Our Hearts (Mi Shebeirach)”

“Mi shebeirach avoteinu
M’kor hab’racha l’imoteinu”
I sing these words
With deep conviction
I pray with all of my soul
Ad-nai, please hear me
Give your people the strength to carry on
Give us the courage to prevail
Bless us with the same love as our ancestors
And we will heal our world through mitzvot
“Mi shebeirach imoteinu
M’kor habrachah l’avoteinu”
Bless the hands of the wounded
And the holy hands of their doctors
Bless the hands of those shaken
And the holy hands of their loved ones
Bless us with r’fuah sh’leimah
So body and soul may renew
With your love and compassion
And I will continue your works
Of healing those around me
And those around me will heal me
And your world will soon be as one
And as I pray for the strength to save
The swaying of singing bodies
Through my closed lids
And my open heart
Softens my pain and my fear
And we sigh, breathing out
Our final plea


“A Celebration of Your Lives (Mourner’s Kaddish)”

I still hear your voice
I still feel you near
And so we’ll rejoice
We’ll sing and we’ll cheer

“Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba.
B’alma di v’ra chirutei,
V’yamlich malchutei,
B’chayeichon uv’yomeichon
Uv’chayei d’chol beit Yisrael,
Baagala uviz’man kariv.
V’im’ru: Amen…”

There’s this pain that you can’t escape
A fear that simply won’t subside with time
There’s this sorrow that seems to take shape
A hurt impossible to express through rhyme

“Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varah
L’alam ul’almei almaya.”

Something hidden in the shadows of my brain
An invisible scar that I bare for those slain
For forever more I’ll carry you in my heart
And starting now you will live on in my art

“Yitbarach v’yishtabah
V’yitpaar v’yitromam
V’yitnasei, v’yit’hadar
V’yitaleh v’yit’halal
Sh’mei d’Kud’sha B’rich Hu,
L’eila min kol birchata v’shirata,
Tushb’chata v’nechemata,
Daamiran b’alma.
V’imru: Amen…”

There are so many things I wish I could do
But I cannot bring you back or save you
All I have to offer are my words and my voice
So I’ll sing out for your lives and I’ll rejoice

“Y’hei sh’lama raba min sh’maya,
V’chayim aleinu v’al kol Yisrael.
V’imru: Amen…”

I will work to ensure that you’re remembered
Not for your death but for your life
What you loved and lived for will be treasured
And this will be the last of senseless strife

“Oseh shalom bimromav,
Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu,
V’al kol Yisrael.
V’imru: Amen.”


“A Cry for Peace (Shalom Rav)”

“Shalom rav al Yisrael amcha
Tasim l’olam”
I ask you for peace
I ask you for love
I ask you for guidance from up above
“Ki Atah Hu Melech Adon
L’chol hashalom”
I ask you for safety
I ask for protection
I ask you for patience and care and affection
“V’tov b’einecha l’vareich
Et amcha Yisrael”
Ad-nai hear my voice
Ad-nai hear me sing
Hear the words aching within my heart
Hear me crying out as my voice rings
“B’chol eit uv’chol shah
Please bring peace to your people
Protect the ones you set free
Please heal the wounds of your children
Protect the souls that refused to flee
“Shalom rav al Yisrael amcha
Tasim l’olam
Shalom rav al Yisrael amcha
Tasim l’olam”


—Samantha Silk, Age 15
The Ellis School
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA