The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has donated its Pulitzer Prize winnings to the Tree of Life – Or L'Simcha Congregation, where 11 people were shot and killed last October. The attack was the deadliest against the Jewish community in U.S. history.
The newspaper was awarded the $15,000 prize in April for its breaking news coverage of the mass shooting. Now, it wants the money to be put towards rebuilding the bullet-riddled synagogue, the paper announced Wednesday.
On October 27, 2018, a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill. Eleven people were killed and seven others were wounded.
"Staffers felt the horrendous events of that day made it difficult to fully savor one of the country's highest honors for journalistic achievement," the newspaper wrote. "And splitting the monetary award among those who had participated in the news coverage just didn't seem right."
Last week, the paper's executive editor, Keith Burris, presented a $15,000 check to Rabbi Jeffrey Myers and Samuel Schachner, the president of the congregation.
"Rabbi Myers, when the unthinkable happened at Tree of Life, it was our job to tell the story," Burris said. "We feel bound to you and your congregations – by memory and duty. And we offer you, in humility, our service – as scribes and witnesses."
"We wish Tree of Life to have this gift – the newspaper's cash award for the Pulitzer Prize for spot news — as a sign of this bond and this service," he continued. "We give it as a modest contribution toward the repair and rebuilding of the congregation's physical plant."
The Post-Gazette announced it will also sponsor a yearly gathering inof the shooting. It will be devoted to combating hate speech and violence with "decency and love."