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$6.6M Awarded To Redeveloping Tree Of Life Synagogue

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Governor Tom Wolf delivered what he called a "Hanukkah gift" to the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Monday -- millions of state dollars to help rebuild the site of the worst anti-Semitic attack ever on American soil.

The $6.6 million grant is intended to transform a site of trauma into a place of remembrance and education.

"We will create a place where people will be moved by the beacon of light that emanates from Tree of Life to the entire world," said Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, "demonstrating that out of this horror, we have created a source of inspiration to all who seek it."

Some parts of the structure will be renovated, while others will be demolished and rebuilt. And the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh -- now in Greenfield -- will be incorporated into the synagogue site.

The lead architect has said the project will address the persistence of anti-Semitism and intolerance, and affirm America's democratic values.

"I am so proud to support the community's efforts to reimagine this space, to create a welcome place for residents, for visitors in Pittsburgh, to reflect and to learn and to grow," Wolf said.

Tree of Life has raised what it calls substantial funding for the project on its own - an effort that will continue, as will the ongoing recovery for all impacted by the horror of Oct. 27, 2018. As Rabbi Myers has said, the congregation won't ever be healed. Rather, he says, "we will always be healing."

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