Synagogue shooting leaves country, citizens questioning security in sacred areas


Emily Eichberg, Senior Reviews Editor

In Pittsburgh, 11 innocent people woke up on Saturday, Oct. 27, got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed to the L’Simcha Congregation, better known as the Tree of Life Synagogue, for their regularly scheduled Saturday morning service.

Another man, 46 year-old Robert Bowers, woke up that morning with a different plan: to walk into that service at 9:54 a.m., and shoot and kill those 11 innocent people.

The names of those victims are Joyce Fienberg, Jerry Rabinowitz, Rose Mallinger, Cecil and David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax and Irving Younger, whose ages range from 54 to 97.

It has been reported that Bowers had been a public Neo-Nazi and used sites like Gab, a social networking platform that prides itself on its free speech, utilized to view and shares thoughts of hate against Jews. Just hours before he entered the synagogue, Bowers posted a chilling statement to Gab saying that he couldn’t watch his “people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

After the incident, word spread across the country to wear blue on the following Monday to honor and show support for the victims. It was also done to bring awareness and to show unity against anti-Semitism. This school is located in a Jewish populated area, so the news surrounding the shooting was quite talked about in the days after. Principal intern Dr. Tiffany Awkard made an announcement and held a moment of silence during a school day that next week to remember the victims.

On Oct. 28, junior Charlotte Bergel made a post in the schools BBQ Club facebook group which is often used to promote sporting events throughout the year, and includes 907 students. Bergel wrote, “This has nothing to do with sports, but no matter your religion, tomorrow please wear blue and show your support for The Tree of Life synagogue.” The post received over 60 likes.

Congregations all over this area have held services and memorials to honor those lost. Of those local congregations, Temple Beth Ami had a service surrounding the shooting, where people of all religions, not just Jewish people, came and showed their support. Junior Julia Bogart who attended this service on Oct. 30 said that “as a community there was a really powerful response that brought a lot of people together.”