Tree of Life
Tree of Life – Or L'Simcha synagogue facade. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Three years after 11 people lost their lives in an antisemitic attack on Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, the 10.27 Healing Partnership has organized an in-person ceremony to honor them.

A commemoration will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at the trees planted at the intersection of Hobart Street and Prospect Drive in Schenley Park in memory of the 11 victims of the Tree of Life massacre: Joyce Fienberg, Rich Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Dan Stein, Irving Younger and Mel Wax.

Those who attend are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Maggie Feinstein, director of the 10.27 Healing Partnership, welcomes the opportunity to gather with family and friends at the commemoration following last year’s virtual event during the height of the pandemic. 

What’s the biggest difference between a virtual event and a live one?

“Hugs,” she says. “So much of where we find our strength is feeling connected to one another.” 

In response to feedback from the community, the commemoration will feature ritual, prayer and a youth choir. The message of the day is one of solidarity and strength, she says, with the mayor and county executive joined by spiritual leaders.

“The idea is that we can see and understand each other better as we move forward,” Feinstein says.

If you miss the live event, there will be a virtual screening and discussion of the ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Sign up at the Virtual Senior Academy website.

In conjunction with the event, virtual Torah sessions will be held at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. on Oct. 27. Each session will be led by a different scholar, have its own topic and take place on Zoom.

The 10.27 Healing Partnership’s name comes from the date of the attack on the three congregations that met at the Tree of Life / Or L’Simcha synagogue building in Squirrel Hill.

Feinstein says Pittsburgh’s interconnections are what makes the city’s response to the tragedy unique. “Very few other Jewish communities have such relationships across sects and the entire city.”

She says the goal of the event was to bring together the voices of different community members and stakeholders and allow a space for remembrance.

“There’s not a right way to commemorate or remember; people need to trust what’s right for them.”

Brian Hyslop

Brian brings a passion for Pittsburgh, doughnuts and ice cream to his job as editor. His more than 30 years of journalism experience have taught him the importance of community engagement and a sense of...