Pittsburgh Synagogue Holds Hanukkah Ceremony at Mass Shooting Site

Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue lit a menorah at the site of the most deadly hate crime against Jewish people in U.S. history.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers looked toward the menorah, standing where 11 people were slain in a mass shooting on October 27. “To me, it’s a simple message: The light is the message,” he said to those gathered.

Thousands have come to pay their respects to the fallen in the wake of the shooting, and nearly 500 showed their solidarity at the service. “I don’t think there are enough adjectives to describe the community support,” Myers said.

“We’re such a tight-knit community,” attendee Ilana Kohanbash said. She attended alongside her husband, Jason. “It’s also a wake-up call for what we need to do to keep our faith, and … we need to take precautions. It could happen to anybody.”

David Hausdorff of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in Pittsburgh for business, stopped to pay his respects as well. “It’s unfathomable, this act of violence,” he said. “It’s unconscionable in any house of worship, let alone in a neighborhood I grew up in. If I weren’t here to actually see it, I wouldn’t grasp the totality of the emotional devastation.”

The service occurred less than a week following Shloshim, the traditional 30-day period of mourning following a death. “We all begin the process of moving forward,” said Dor Hadah president Ellen Surloff. “You move forward one day at a time. You have good days and some not-so-good days.”