(September 24, 2019 / JNS) Members of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community convened a press conference late last week to talk about the Oct. 27 synagogue massacre almost a year ago and their plans moving forward.
At the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, a panel of leaders from the three congregations housed in the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue building discussed how their members have been coping in the aftermath of the attack, and the struggle of taking care of their congregants and themselves.
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers from Tree of Life said, “I live with Oct. 27 every minute of every hour of every day, and I will for the rest of my life. Each of us finds the strength and the courage to integrate what happened into our beings, to move forward. I refuse to let the perpetrator make me another full-time victim. I won’t let it happen. I refuse.”
Stephen Cohen, co-president of the New Light synagogue, said his congregation is “committed to moving back to the Tree of Life building,” but he expects that process to “take many years.” He also called for a discussion with state and city officials on how to memorialize the deadly shooting.
Details were also revealed regarding the “Remember. Repair. Together” program, complete with planned volunteer opportunities and Torah study.
The Jewish Family and Community Services said therapists will be on site during High Holiday services for congregants affiliated with Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash and New Light, with additional clinicians being provided to other congregations upon request. The Center for Victims will also continue to offer support through the High Holidays, and at all public and private commemoration events.
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