Remembering Tree of Life, five years ago today

Remembering Tree of Life, five years ago today

October 27, 2023
Washington DC vigil in 2018

Five years ago, the deadliest act of antisemitic violence in American history took the lives of 11 beloved Jewish community members at the Tree of Life - Or L’Simcha building in Pittsburgh.

Today, many Jewish people are feeling vulnerable and afraid again, and many of us are witnessing or experiencing antisemitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab words and actions.

I have been so heartened by our non-Jewish partners reaching out and showing up for us at this time, just like they did in 2018 when thousands of friends, neighbors, and allies showed up for our community in Pittsburgh and across the country.

We knew then and we know now that our safety lies in solidarity. In our most difficult moments, like in 2018 in Pittsburgh and the one we are facing now, we must resist the understandable urge to retreat. I hope we can find space in our hearts to let in both the pain and the possibility of connection — to give space to our fears and feelings of isolation and, at the same time, practice our resilience, commitment, and vision.

My prayer as we mark today’s yahrzeit (annual mourning ritual) is for safety, freedom, and liberation for all of us. I know we can achieve that when we reach for each other, especially across lines of difference, and organize together for the thriving future we deserve.

In grief, mourning, and solidarity,

Jamie Beran
CEO, Bend the Arc

May their memories be for a blessing:
Joyce Fienberg
Richard Gottfried
Rose Mallinger
Jerry Rabinowitz
Cecil Rosenthal
David Rosenthal
Bernice Simon
Sylvan Simon
Daniel Stein
Melvin Wax
Irving Younger