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How Do We Help Kids Cope With Their Grief?

Sarah Schneider
90.5 WESA
Students at the Community Day School hold a morning prayer service ahead of a remembrance service honoring those lost and affected by the deadly mass shooting at Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018.


Pittsburgh's grief-stricken Jewish community endured another round of funerals Wednesday for victims of a deadly mass shooting at Tree of Life Congregation synagogue that left 11 dead and six others injured. The shooting is being called the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. 

As adults continue grappling with their own feelings about the shooting, how should caregivers and educators introduce or explain those horrors to young kids? 

Today's panel of guests include:

  • Dr. Kara McGoey, director of Duquesne University's School Psychology program, who has been consulting with local schools about resources meant to benefit kids in the wake of tragedy;
  • Rabbi Mordy Rudolph, co-founder and executive director of Friendship Circle, a caregiving center designed for children and teens of different abilities and based in Squirrel Hill; and
  • Paul Siefken, president and CEO of Fred Rogers Productions, a Pittsburgh-based media company dedicated to nurturing children and families through the lasting example of its founder, Fred Rogers.
Credit Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Peter Strick is the founding science director of the Brain Institute at the University of Pittsburgh.

Elsewhere in the program, 90.5 WESA's Sarah Schneider visits the Community Day School located in the heart of Squirrel Hill to find out how educators there are navigating a population already well aware of antisemitism, but one that hadn't anticipated a violent act in their own community

WESA's Virginia Alvino Young takes us on a tour of Squirrel Hill with Rabbi Sharyn Henry, who helps lead Rodef Shalom in nearby Shadyside. As the two make their way down Murray Avenue, there are still visible signs that a gunman opened fire in a synagogue there four days ago.

And while some consider space to be the final frontier, one local scientist says it's the brain. Peter Strick, founding science director of the Brain Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, has taken on mapping the brain, not unlike Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigated the globe, to learn how different parts of the brain communicate with each other. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Kiley Koscinski is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She previously produced The Confluence and Morning Edition. Before coming to WESA, she worked as an assignment desk editor and producer at 1020 AM KDKA. She can be reached at
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