Synagogue Shooting

Day of Service organized to honor lives lost during Tree of Life attack

PITTSBURGH — To mark one year since 11 people were killed while attending services at the Tree of life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, a number of community service projects were organized.

The service day, which is being called Pittsburgh October 27, primarily takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Channel 11's Lori Houy was at the Center for Victims on the South Side, which was just one of the many places where volunteers gathered.

I felt that this was an opportunity for me to bring something healing though cookies for the community in a compassionate way," Jasmine Cho, of Yummyholic, said.

Cho baked 1,200 cookies that were beautifully decorated by a roomful of volunteers of all ages.

The message on the cookies is powerful -- "Remember. Repair. Together."

"That repair part, that second word, is what you're seeing today. There's in Jewish tradition the idea, which is repairing the world, and that's what's happening today," said Jeff Finkelstein, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

The cookies were then delivered to first responders as a way to thank them.

"There is no question how much the community owes to the first responders, particularly those who were on-site that terrible morning as they rushed towards danger to help people in the synagogue," said Meryl Ainsman, the board chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.


Eight hundred volunteers took part in the day of service.

At the Jewish Family and Community Services in Squirrel Hill, as part of their refugee and immigrant services program, volunteers made cut-and-tie blankets for refugee families and also created fabric hearts with welcoming messages for refugee families as they make their new homes in Pittsburgh.

"We immediately knew we wanted to be a part of this. It's such a beautiful, positive way to celebrate and commemorate something that's really sad," said volunteer Elaine Fath from Greenfield.

A blood drive was held at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh at its locations in Squirrel Hill and South Hills.

The drive was put on to help support the community.

A group of people also went to the B'nai Israel Cemetery in Penn Hills. The group wanted to clean up the area to do something good in their community.

"Creating good out of evil and trying to do beautiful things today as a way to honor the memories of the people that we lost," said Tammy Hepps, the site lead for the cleanup.