Milton responds to Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

Back to Article
Back to Article

Milton responds to Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

Morgan Pickett, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Eleven lives were lost this past month in what is now the deadliest assault on the Jewish community in America’s history. Milton’s inter-faith clubs came together the following Friday for a moment of silence for the lives lost, and a following emotional discussion on the impacts of such an act on the community.

On Oct. 27, 46-year-old Robert Bowers arrived at the Tree of Life synagogue and opened fire on the congregation. The Pittsburgh synagogue, known in the community’s Hebrew tongue as עֵץ חַיִּים – אוֹר לְשִׂמְחָה (Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha), hosted many congregations within its walls and has been a focal point for Jewish life in the Pittsburgh neighborhood for over a century.

It was during the temple’s Shabbat services when Bowers entered the synagogue, shouted “All Jews must die,” and began opening fire. The reason for Bowers’ actions are frighteningly simple: anti-semitism. The reason for anti-semitism? There has yet to be one unanimously decided. Hatred against Jew and their culture has been observed in the world for millennia, from the Rhineland massacres in 1096 to the Holocaust not even 80 years ago.

Today it is a constant presence in the lives of Jews in all countries of the world, even those as progressive as the United States. Anti-semitism is fuel for playground bullies and politicians alike, and the range that anti-semitic ideals has even in the professional world is jarring—a 2009 study done by the Boston Review found that a quarter of the non-Jewish population of America blamed Jews for the 2008 financial crisis, decision percentages 32% among Democrats and 18% among Republicans. The deep instilled hatred for Jewish culture and people has been called a political ideology, uniting those with principles opposed to liberalism (Podcast: Ruth Wisse on the Nature and Functions of Anti-Semitism).

Milton’s Jewish Student Union (JSU) and Muslim Student Association (MSA), along with the support of other faith and community driven clubs such as No Place for Hate (NPFH), arranged a moment of silence around the flagpole before dawn of the following Friday. The MSA followed in the footsteps of other Muslim groups around the country that raised over $150,000 to support the synagogue.

Parker Salinas, president of the Milton  JSU, believes it is extremely important for us all to come together after events like these as a Jewish community.  She believes unity and connection know no boundaries, as they “are what push us forward and make us thrive for a future we can be proud of.” Salinas stressed the importance of the service for all of Milton’s youth after such a tragedy, as it shows that “we are willing to cross boundaries to understand each other and get to a better solution, a more connected future.”