Pittsburgh turns out to remember victims of synagogue shooting
PITTSBURGH — Nearly two weeks after a gunman shot to death 11 people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue, their lives were remembered yesterday with a moment of silence and rally for peace in a downtown park.
Rabbis from all three congregations whose members were meeting in the Tree of Life synagogue building at the time of the Oct. 27 shooting were among a few hundred people who attended the event at Point State Park.
“I want to thank Pittsburgh’s finest,” said Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, flanked by first responders. “If it wasn’t for Pittsburgh’s finest, I wouldn’t be standing here, addressing you today.”
Myers, who pledged yesterday never again to utter the word “hate,” survived what was the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history, then handled funerals for his congregants.
Actor Michael Keaton, wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates ball cap, emceed the event that was described as “a gathering of compassion, unity and love.” Keaton grew up in the area.
“This one really hurts. When it happens at a place of worship, that pain runs really, really deep,” Keaton said, calling Pittsburgh “a tough, tough city.”
Robert Bowers, a 46-yearold truck driver, is accused of the shooting rampage that also injured six. He has pleaded not guilty to federal charges. Authorities said he raged about Jews during and after the attack.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto reminded the crowd that the rally was taking place on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Nazi Germany’s systematic assault on Jews and their institutions.
The shooting was “our moment of broken glass,” said the Rev. Liddy Barlow, executive director of Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania. “But this time, neighbors did not stand aside. First responders did not stand aside. Christians did not and will not stand aside.”
Actor Tom Hanks took the stage with Joanne Rogers, widow of Fred Rogers, host of the PBS children’s television series, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
“A visitor will know how great a city this is because Pittsburgh has been tested,” said Hanks, who plays Fred Rogers in an upcoming film.
He said the city has shown the rest of the nation and the world “what good comes when the people of the Allegheny and the Monongahela love their neighbors with no exception.”
‘TOUGH CITY’: Attendees stand during a moment of silence yesterday during the Rally for Peace and Tree of Life Victims, which remembered the 11 people shot to death two weeks ago in a Pittsburgh synagogue.