Synagogue Shooting

Life after the Tree of Life synagogue attack

The Jewish New Year began Sunday night.

It's a time of celebration and reflection, but this Rosh Hashanah is different. Four weeks from Sunday marks one year since the Tree of Life massacre.

Channel 11 anchor David Johnson recently spoke to the rabbi there and two people who lost close family members.

>>>RELATED: Timeline of events at Tree of Life Synagogue shooting

"With the High Holy Days and the one-year mark coming right behind. It, it's kind of coming all at once," said Michele Rosenthal.

Rosenthal's brothers, Cecil and David, were killed in the Tree of Life attack.

They were well known and beloved members of the Tree of Life and greater Squirrel Hill community.

"I looked at a picture the other day from a year ago, when my husband and I were having dinner with my parents and my brothers, And...and...and I can't believe what's happened this year," Rosenthal said.


What happened this year was the deadliest attack on Jews in American history. 11 Shabbat worshipers were gunned down Oct 27, 2018, including Andrea Wedner's 97-year-old mother, Rose Mallinger.

Wedner was also shot in the arm. She is still recovering.

That morning, she heard the gunshots, and knew what they were and told her mother to get down.
"For those to be her last moments is what hurts the most," Wedner said.

"When I sat down with Andrea, I was struck by her smile - how kind and friendly she is - and despite what she's been through, her positivity," Johnson said.

"I want to tell people to be positive, to know that you can get through anything, especially if you have the support of people who love you: your family, your spouse, the community," Wedner said.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers was also inside Tree of Life that terrible day. Here's his message on this Rosh Hashanah eve: "May this be a better year," Myers said. "How can we collectively, as a community, make for a better new year?" What can each of us do to be even better human beings to tip the scale in favor of goodness?"

"You don't forget. You just find out how to wake up every morning," Rosenthal said.

We could all learn a lesson from Rosenthal and Wedner.

"I see people who -- this little thing bothers them, that little thing bothers them. It doesn't for me anymore. That's the small stuff," Wedner said. "I almost lost my life, and I'm taking advantage of that."

Johnson said what he didn't hear any of was anger, bitterness, a need for revenge. Instead, it was more "Tikun Olam." It's a Hebrew Phrase that means, "to repair the world."

It's a good message on this Rosh Hashanah Eve and all year long.