$6.3M in compassion payments to be distributed to people impacted by Tree of Life tragedy

$6.3M in compassion payments to be distributed to people impacted by Tree of Life tragedy

PITTSBURGH — Since the tragedy at Tree of Life more than four months ago, there has been an overwhelming show of support both emotionally and financially for the victims and the congregations impacted.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh announced Tuesday it is distributing $6.3 million in compassion payments to those impacted by the tragedy.

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The majority of the money will go to the families of those who were killed or injured during Oct. 27, 2018 mass shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue.

The federation says it was overwhelmed by the generosity from across the country and around the world, which was shown through donations and vigils.


An independent committee was set up to determine how to best distribute the money.  That committee met Monday night with the victim's families to share with them how the money will be distributed.

"The obvious victims are the people who were killed or wounded. But it's clear they're not the only victims," Committee Chairman David Shapira said.

The disagreement came from the committee members determining how to distribute the money, but as one representative pointed out there's no right answer as to how it should be done.

"These are not strangers to us. We are not strangers to them. I think there was a level of trust, a level of warmth. As David said, I don't think everyone agreed with absolutely everything that was done,” Jewish Federation Board Chairperson Meryl Ainsman said.

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In the end, $4.3 million is going to the victim's families for those who were killed or seriously injured. Another $436,000 will go to congregants who were trapped inside during the shooting, and $48,000 to people who were on the grounds when the shooting happened.

Separately, $500,000 was set aside for the police officers who were injured. The final portion of the money is being split between the three congregations that share the temple; Tree of Life, Dor Hadash and New light.