Tragically, for many it is no longer shocking to hear of a mass shooting — or at least that’s how people feel after the amount of these acts seen in our life times. On Oct. 27, 11 people were shot and killed and seven were injured at a Shabbat morning service about five miles from downtown Pittsburgh. The victims were all over the age of 54, one of them being 97 years old. After the deadliest shooting on the Jewish community in American history, we mourn those lost in this horrific event and we unite with one another to create hope for our future.
…This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2018
President Trump tweeted in response to the shooting, “All of America is in mourning over the mass murder of Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We pray for those who perished and their loved ones, and our hearts go out to the brave police officers who sustained serious injuries … This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate.”
Using the online social network “Gab”, the shooter Robert Bowers wrote anti-Semitic comments about the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which the synagogue that was attacked participated in. During the hate crime at the Tree of Life synagogue, Bowers was said to have been making anti-Semitic statements during the shooting, and then he finally surrendered to authorities. Bowers was charged with 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder and multiple counts of two hate crimes.
Locally and internationally, support was poured out for the victims and their loved ones as a source of hope for the community. Naftali Bennett, Israel’s diaspora affairs and education minister visited the synagogue, attended the funerals of the victims and met with community members to show support. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, says, “the whole of Israel grieves with the families of the dead.” The day after the shooting, Israel’s cabinet stood for a moment of silence to honors the victims. Thousands of people have united for vigils and rallies, to come together despite the incident and to spread love in a moment of so much hate.
Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers attended the joint funeral service of Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54, brothers who were both murdered. When the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Cleveland Browns the next day, signs in the crowd were dedicated to the tragedy. “Hatred can’t weaken a city of steel” was written on one of the signs, and the Steelers won the game.
We continue to mourn the loss of the victims, and spread awareness and hope so that we never see something as devastating as this ever again.