Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting


Samantha Brant, News Editor

Why All the Hate?

The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting

Samantha Brant ’19, News Editor

As of November 8th, 2018, there have been 307 mass shootings in 311 days in 2018, and on average one deadly incident on every day of this year. I was a toddler when 9/11 occurred, in middle school during the Sandy-Hook shooting, 15 when the Pulse nightclub shooting happened, and 17 when I watched the coverage of the Parkland shooting on my TV. There have been so many mass shootings since we have been alive that we have become desensitized.

Then, on October 27th, 2018, a man with a gun walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, yelling “All Jews must die!” He killed 11 and wounded 2 people worshiping in the synagogue, and also wounded 4 police officers. He destroyed their right to worship and committed a terrifying act of antisemitism. This is the first time in the United States that a person has walked into a place of worship with a gun and killed people because of hate for that religion. According to a study done by the anti-deformation league, there has been a 17% increase in hate crime, and a 37% increase in hate crimes targeting Jews and Jewish institutions.

This shooting hit home for reasons that the others hadn’t. That could have been my synagogue, my family, my grandparents, my friends, my community: our community. Even though the attack was in Pittsburgh, it felt personal. When this much hate is directed towards one specific group of people, everybody needs to recognize it and come together in support. This is how the world is able to grow and improve.

Through this horrific event, many people did come together and rally around the Jewish community. In our own community the JCC (Jewish Community Center) hosted a vigil attended by 1200 people. That amount of people way outnumbered the space provided by the facility. The people in attendance were not just Jews, but Christians, Muslims, and non-religious people as well. At Saturday morning services at the synagogue, the room that normally contains about 30 people around the ages of 60+, was packed. There were over 550 people there ranging in age from 2-90. There was a large group from Crossroads church and the Islamic center. Everybody was there to show their support for the Jewish community and their disgust for the horrific events that had occurred in Pittsburgh.

Despite the continuation of these violent acts I hope that our communities will continue to come together to support one another.