Watch CBS News

Remember, Reflect At Tree Of Life: Commemorating The 11 Lives Lost 3 Years Ago In Synagogue Shooting

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Today is a day Pittsburgh will never forget, marking three years since 11 lives were lost in the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in United States history.

On Oct. 27, 2018, a normal Saturday in Squirrel Hill became an unimaginable nightmare when a gunman opened fire inside the Tree of Life Synagogue, killing 11 people and injuring several others.

Now, three years later, we pause to remember and reflect in spirit and action.


An official commemoration ceremony took place on Wednesday in Schenley Park. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald were in attendance.

WATCH: Interview President And CEO Of Jewish Federation Of Greater Pittsburgh

Last year, ceremonies to commemorate the lives lost in the attack were held virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WATCH: Rabbi Jeffrey Myers' Message

On Wednesday, hundreds gathered for the commemoration ceremony. It featured a candle lighting by families of the 11 victims, prayer, readings, and an honoring of the emergency officials who responded that day, among other events.

WATCH: Meghan Schiller Reports Live From The Ceremony

Two men who survived the shooting, Dan Leger and Marty Gaynor, sang a psalm after reading a poem during the commemoration ceremony. The psalm was loved by their friend and shooting victim Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz.

WATCH: Ken Rice's Final Thoughts

At the end of the ceremony, people brought stones up to the front table. It's a Jewish way to bring comfort and remember those who have left this world.

WATCH: Full Commemorance Ceremony

'I Can't Believe It's Been Three Years:' Community Prepares To Remember, Reflect On Tree Of Life Shooting
'Stand Up And Speak Out Against Antisemitism': President Biden, Other Pa. Officials Offer Tree Of Life Remembrances
11 Trees Planted In Schenley Park Commemorate Lives Lost 3 Years Ago At Tree Of Life
How Leaders From Different Congregations Came Together To Participate In Tree Of Life Remembrance Ceremony
Community Garden In Pittsburgh Holds Volunteer Events To Help Community Heal After Tree Of Life Shooting
'Run-Hide-Fight Really Does Work': Tree Of Life Survivor Audrey Glickman Wants Others To Remember 'It Can Happen Again'
'The Working Group' Spent Months Creating Tree Of Life Commemoration Ceremony In Pittsburgh

A Look Back At Oct. 27, 2018

Pittsburgh's darkest day began as a rainy and dreary October morning like any other in the fall -- but the world's eyes would soon turn to Squirrel Hill, as unthinkable hatred shattered one of the city's most peaceful neighborhoods.

Shooter Opens Fire At Pittsburgh Synagogue
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson)

Eleven worshippers were shot and killed inside the Synagogue, as they attended services at each of the three congregations in the building -- Tree of Life, New Light, and Dor Hadash.

Later that evening, it was the young people of Squirrel Hill, students from Taylor Allderdice High School who brought the community together to begin the long process of healing, one which continues today.

WATCH: Just Stop The Hate, Thousands Attend Vigil


The streets of Mister Rogers' neighborhood filled with mourners wanting to pray, sing, cry and remember the lives lost and the lives forever impacted by the terror that rang out earlier that same day.

Remembering The Victims


WATCH: Remember, Repair, Together


Thirteen worshippers were shot. Two of the thirteen survived the mass shooting three years ago.

Watch as KDKA's Ken Rice sits down with Dan Leger and Andrea Wedner as they remember the lives lost that tragic day.


The Future For Tree Of Life

Three years after the attack, the synagogue remains closed to the public.

Architect Daniel Libeskind has been chosen to design the future of the site, as a memorial space will be created at Tree of Life.

Libeskind was behind the master plan for the World Trade Center site after 9/11 and he also designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

The congregation wants the building to be used as a place of worship again, as well as a place for people to learn about confronting hate.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The sanctuary will be renovated while other parts of the campus will be demolished.

There is no timetable for when the project will be completed.


Stay with KDKA for more continued special coverage in our newscasts on Wednesday as we pause to remember and reflect in spirit and action.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.