A year later, The FHM remembers the Tree of Life victims

Sara M. McDonald, Special Projects Coordinator

On October 27, 2018 antisemitism and hatred reared its ugly head in the form of the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States, when a gunman entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and left eleven members dead and six injured. In the hours after the shooting, the list of victims turned out to be the “regulars” of their respective synagogues and faithful leaders in the surrounding Jewish community. The violence of that fateful day sent shock waves across the community and the nation. A year later, we are still trying to process how anyone could commit such a horrific and senseless act of violence.

Today, on the anniversary of this heinous act, let us honor those who lost their lives and remember them for who they were and what they left behind. Let us remember the victims as the faithful, as brothers, and sisters. Let us honor the officers who arrived at the scene within minutes and the first responders who rushed in amidst gunfire. Let us honor the brave Jewish doctor and nurse who treated the gunman after the attack. Let us honor the president of that hospital, Dr. Cohen, who lived so close to the Tree of Life synagogue, the same synagogue he attended, that he could hear the gunfire from his home. He knew nine of the victims, but still acted with kindness and grace as he checked in on the wellbeing of the gunman.

Let us always remember that when hatred tried to tear the community apart, when it tried to destroy it from the inside out, it failed. Instead, the outpouring of support for the Tree of Life synagogue and the families of those lost, showed a strong sense of solidarity and a fixed sense of support for the Jewish community as they tried to navigate the days and weeks following this senseless tragedy. Let us not lose sight of these brave acts and of that pride and solidarity. Let us honor those who lost their lives in their place of shelter and worship. Let us never forget who they were and what they meant to their families and to their communities. Let us never forget their names and legacies.

Today, and every day, The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of every individual who lost their life at the hand of antisemitism and bigotry. We hope you will join us as we remember the victims of the Tree of Life shooting and stand in unification with the entire Jewish community who still mourns the lives of their faithful brothers and sisters.

  • Joyce Fienberg, 75
  • Richard Gottfried, 65
  • Rose Mallinger, 97
  • Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
  • Cecil Rosenthal, 59
  • David Rosenthal, 54
  • Bernice Simon, 84
  • Sylvan Simon, 86
  • Daniel Stein, 71
  • Melvin Wax, 88
  • Irving Younger, 69