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Pittsburgh synagogue shooting survivors talk about love triumphing over hate at Mt. Lebanon High School

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting survivors talk at Mt. Lebanon High School
Pittsburgh synagogue shooting survivors talk at Mt. Lebanon High School 03:03

MT. LEBANON, Pa. (KDKA) -- For the past several months, survivors of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre have been visiting local schools, teaching that love can triumph over hate, that good can prevail over evil. 

This week, they were at Mt. Lebanon High School for a dialogue with students who are already trying to spread that same message. The two groups gave each other strength and hope for a better future.  

Out of the tragedy of the synagogue shooting came a coming together of not only the Pittsburgh community but people throughout that world. Jodi Kart, the daughter of synagogue victim Mel Wax, said for a solid year, she got letters of support from all continents. 

"After experiencing such hate, it was amazingly uplifting to see the other side of hate, the kindness," Kart said.

This week, family members and survivors of the attack came to Mt. Lebanon High School to offer their hopeful message to student members of an organization called Light, which seeks to confront racism and antisemitism, teach kindness and become an upstander -- someone who sees bullying and intercedes.

"Light is a regional organization to provide resources to K-12 schools to promote human rights and humanities," explained student Eden Chang.

On the day of attack, the gunman shot and killed Dan Leger's best friend Jerry Rabinowitz and shot Leger in the stomach. He lay bleeding, thinking about his wife and sons and had resigned himself to death before he was finally rescued. But rather than tell that story, Leger said he only wanted give support to the students of Light.

"You know, we're leaving you a terrible world. It's really a messy place, but when I look at you folks and I see the energy that you have to bring good into the messes that need repairing and that we have left you, I feel so optimistic. I feel so hopeful," Leger said.

But the survivors did offer their message of strength and hope. While the high schoolers were pre-teens when the attack occurred, some remember the trauma. Chang said she stayed away from practicing Judaism for fear of new attacks.

"I really haven't had the chance to do that because it's just really horrifying to think it could happen again. I just want to say thank you guys for coming, it's really great to have you here and talk to you," Chang said through tears.

"When I go to services now, it's more about finding peace and I'm not going to let evil take that away from me," Kart said.

And so the students embrace that message of love over hate from the survivors of synagogue massacre and take it as a sign of hope for a better world in their future. 

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