According to Finkelstein, in an email interview with the Chronicle, he was already in Israel traveling with a philanthropist from Pittsburgh looking at his projects.
“When I heard the tragic news, I was immediately in touch with Rebecca Caspi, who runs the Jewish Federations of North America office in Israel. She asked if I would accompany her to the funeral representing the federation.”
Finkelstein did not expect his stay to take the turn it did.
“I was in Israel for two reasons. One was to be with a donor and to see his projects. The second was to spend some time scouting sites for our Mega Mission this summer, where some 240 people from Pittsburgh are registered. I never anticipated attending a funeral.
People [in Israel] are simply devastated. That Jews were killed for being Jewish is the worst thing imaginable. I woke up this morning and started my day at the funerals. I ended my day at Yad Vashem. It was a startling reminder that just like in the 1930s and 1940s Jews were killed for being Jews, the fact is that it is still happening today. It’s why we need to be strong as a Jewish community today and always.”