One year later: Pittsburgh reflecting on Tree of Life tragedy, remembering 11 lives lost

Future of Tree of Life synagogue building includes memorial for shooting victims

PITTSBURGH — One year after tragedy at the Tree of Life synagogue shook Pittsburgh, the pain of losing 11 innocent lives remains fresh in the hearts and minds of the community.

It was about 10 a.m. Oct. 27, 2018, when police swarmed the area around the synagogue in Squirrel Hill after shooting erupted. It was the beginning of what has been called the darkest day in Pittsburgh's history.

>>RELATED: Memories of synagogue shooting still fresh for city leaders nearly year later

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Eleven people died and six others, including four law enforcement officers, were injured. Among those who lost their lives were brothers and a husband and wife:

  • Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland
  • Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township
  • Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill
  • Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood
  • Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill (brother of David Rosenthal)
  • David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill (brother of Cecil Rosenthal)
  • Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg (married to Sylvan Simon)
  • Sylvan Simon, 87, of Wilkinsburg (married to Bernice Simon)
  • Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill
  • Melvin Wax, 87, of Squirrel Hill
  • Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington

Three congregations -- Tree of Life, Dor Hadash and New Light -- were gathered at the synagogue at the time of the shooting.

On Sunday, a memorial service to commemorate one year since the shooting will be a somber and emotional time. The public service will be held at 5 p.m. at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall.

In the days and months since the shooting, people have come together with various ways of showing Pittsburgh's strength and resilience.

"Stronger Than Hate" has become a message of hope, and its symbol -- the Steelers logo with one of the diamonds replaced with the Star of David -- has become easily recognizable.

Though the Tree of Life synagogue building has not reopened since the shooting, synagogue leaders have announced they want to rebuild and renovate. They hope it will become a "center for Jewish life in the United States" and a symbol against hatred.