Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images
On October 27, 2018, The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which was supposed to be a place of worship and was considered a “safe haven,” experienced tragedy as 11 people were shot and killed. 46 year old, Robert Bowers carried an assault rifle along with three hand guns and opened fire on those who had been worshipping at the synagogue at the time. Officials believe this was an act of hate as Bowers had been claimed to say that he wanted “all Jews to die”. There have been reports that Bowers had posted about the intent of committing the crime on a website called Gab, which is known to be website similar to Twitter, but with less of an audience and more directed to white supremacists and alt-right hate groups. This massacre that is being recognized as the “deadliest attack on the Jewish community of the history of the United States.”
The lives of those who were affected by this devastating tragedy are currently being remembered for the lives they had lived. Many of them lived intentional and successful lives that had an impact on those who were fortunate enough to know them. Unfortunately, their lives were taken by a man who was in a dark place with a mentality to hurt innocent people in a place where they had believed to be a place to worship. Joyce Feinberg, 75, Richard Gottfried, 65, Rose Mallinger, 97, Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, David Rosenthal, 54, Bernice Simon, 84, Sylvan Simon, 87, Daniel Stein, 71, Melvin Wax, 87, and Irving Younger, 69, were all those whose lives were taken unexpectedly. The close friends and families of these victims had mentioned only good things about their character and the good hearts they all had.
Throughout society now, issues regarding race or religious beliefs have become more of an issue. Crimes like these are now becoming a normal day to day thing we see on the news. The number based on mass public shootings over the past few years have increased severely and have affected the way that people see others in society. President Trump responded to the tragedy shortly after the shooting took place. He mentioned that if there were to be an armed guard at the synagogue, “it could have been a very much different situation.” As the nation continues to mourn the many lives that were affected by this tragedy, many have taken a step into action in order to raise awareness and help those who have been affected. And you can be a part of the help too. A GoFundMe has been created in order to benefit directly to the congregation of The Tree of Life. By donating to this fund, you are contributing to the damages towards the synagogue that had been issued and supporting the victims of the families that were affected. Another way you could help make a change within the situation is to support Jewish organizations, one such as Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society or HIAS. By supporting this organization, you are helping with providing protection and assistance to Jewish refugees around the world.