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Pittsburgh Jewish Community Comes Together To Memorialize Tree Of Life Six Months Later

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It was just six months ago that 11 worshipers were shot and killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill. While observing the anniversary, Pittsburgh's Jewish community offered their condolences.

"It was surreal," said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. "That we have to relive this again and again and again and again for our friends, that we reach out to in Southern California."

The event at Temple Sinai was held to commemorate the six-month anniversary of the Tree of Life massacre, but it took on even more meaning because of the shooting Saturday at a synagogue outside of San Diego.

"It makes it more important, out work, more important," said Carolyn Ban of Squirrel Hill Stands Against Violence. "Our work is more poignant, to say, we must work to reduce gun violence in our country."

A host of speakers denounced gun violence, including Daniel Leger, a survivor of the Tree of Life shooting.

"We shouldn't have to be here because of Pittsburgh, because it was more than enough, we shouldn't have to be here, because of Poway, because it was way more than enough," he said.

Leger supports Mayor Peduto and council passing the ban on automatic weapons, but Mayor Peduto says State Senator Mike Turzai is trying to block such laws.

"To speaker Turzai, how dare you stand there, in the rain, outside of the Tree of Life and then try to pass this type of garbage in the state of Pennsylvania," the mayor said.

The event ended with a march through Squirrel Hill to Schenley Park. They carried signs, sang songs and calling for an end to the violence. When they reached the park, a tree was planted.

"Our community is resilient and our community chooses life," said Dana Kellerman of Squirrel Hill Stands Against Violence. "We will move forward and make some good come from a horrendous tragedy."

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