• 'We will be back even stronger' Tree of Life rabbi reflects on synagogue shooting

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    PITTSBURGH - People have been walking up to the memorial for 11 victims of the Tree of Life shooting. Monday was the first time the synagogue's rabbi could bring himself to see it.

    He was inside at the time of the shooting and was on the phone with 911 as the suspect was still shooting inside.

    PHOTOS: Support pouring in for Pittsburgh community after synagogue shooting

    With incredible composure, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers recounted to Channel 11 the moments that not only impacted his Tree of Life congregation but the world.

     “I’m the eyes and ears for the police force until they enter the building which I could tell by the sounds they had not entered yet,” Myers said.


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    Myers didn’t know where the alleged shooter was when SWAT rescued him on Saturday inside the Squirrel Hill synagogue. Sadly, 11 others weren’t as fortunate.

    “I’m indebted to the Pittsburgh police who responded. I know we have officers shot and it’s because of their heroism I’m standing here,” Myers said.  

    It took him 2 days to bring himself back to the building. He’s touched by the memorial outside.

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    “I looked at this and said oh my gosh this is a giant mausoleum. This is a big piece of concrete with all these memorials here. That’s not what this is. This is the Tree of Life,” Myers said.

    And in that spirit, he said his congregation will be back. Hundreds of bullet holes will prevent Tree of Life from ever using the sanctuary again, but after 154 years Myers said, “We’re not leaving this corner of Wilkins and Shady. We will be back even stronger.”

    The New Yorker is new to Pittsburgh, but the outpouring of support from all faiths has shown him the true colors of the city.

    “It’s so reassuring to me which tells me here in Pittsburgh hate will not triumph. Love will win out. Hate is not welcome in Pittsburgh,” Myers said.

    There are 3 congregations that worship at the synagogue, seven of those killed were from Tree of Life and Myers said the first of the funerals will happen Tuesday.


     

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