Pittsburgh stands as one: Photo of the Day 11/24/18


Emily Lotito

Tree of Life synagogue where a deadly shooting took 11 lives.

by Emily Lotito, Reporter

Driving through the streets of Pittsburgh, all the homes look cozy and filled with life. People were celebrating Thanksgiving and preparing for the holidays. On Wilkins Ave outside of Pittsburgh, there is the synagogue where a deadly shooting happened. The building looks normal; there are stained glass windows on one side and has the bold Hebrew name and the English name below it. Never in million years would observers think that there would be a shooting at such a strong peaceful building.

When my family and I visited the synagogue, we didn’t say any words to each other. We stood there mourning for the lives lost. I was shocked into silence. We placed rocks along the memorial with flowers. In Jewish tradition, mourners place a rock at the grave site of deceased.

At the memorial, there was a sign from the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh. “We are saddened and distressed for The Tree of Life Congregation and offer the support of our prayer and love to all involved. May peace be in the hearts of all our sisters and brothers in the Jewish community.”

How could someone come into a neighborhood is filled of beauty and want to kill people because of their religion?

“I couldn’t believe something like that could happen in that area that was so close knit. Almost everyone [present] was crying.” Shari Lotito said.

My mother comes from Lakewood, New Jersey where all sorts of ethnicity, races, and religions fill the streets. She says it’s different from Frederick and Pittsburgh because locally there isn’t much diversity. There isn’t a big Jewish community like Lakewood where everyone would see Hasidics walking during the weekends.

Visitors could walk around Lakewood and Pittsburgh and meet many Jewish community members. People meet Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, Reconstructive Jews, Orthodox and Karaite Jews. The best part is, even though the groups see Judaism in different ways, they still stand together and fight against the hate.

We walked downtown in Pittsburgh, and there is a big community of Jewish people and supporters. We saw signs, t-shirts, buttons, stickers, magnets, all sorts of things showing support.

The attack happened in the small town on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, but the whole city has come together to show they don’t support hate. The sign has the Jewish star, but it is a star that represents all. It was also amazing to see that so many people went to visit the synagogue and show their love. People don’t have to wear a Jewish Star around their neck or wear a yamaka on their head to show support.