(February 5, 2019 / JNS) A Holocaust survivor who arrived late to the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27 will be one of several personal guests of U.S. President Donald Trump at the annual State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
Judah Samet, who was born in Hungary and survived the Bergen-Belsen death camp, got to Shabbat-morning services about five minutes after it started—a factor that saved him from being inside during the attack by lone gunman Robert Bowers. A total of 11 worshippers were killed that day.
Samet witnessed the exchange of fire between police and Bowers, an avowed white supremacist, from outside the building.
Timothy Matson, a Pittsburgh police and SWAT team officer who was shot during the interchange, is also expected to attend the State of the Union.
Additional guests include the family of a couple killed last month by an illegal migrant, a prisoner released under First Step criminal-justice legislation, a special agent with the Homeland Security human-trafficking unit, the father of a Navy seaman who was killed on the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, a 9-year-old brain-cancer survivor, a recovering opioid addict, the plant manager of a lumber facility reopened under provisions of the administration’s tax cut, and a child who has experienced bullying because his last name happens to be Trump.