Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting


On Saturday October 27, an even, hate-filled gunman burst into a Pittsburgh Synagogue and killed 11 innocent Jews as they gathered for Shabbat services. The gunman, Robert Bowers, was shot by the police while exiting the Temple and has been taken into custody.

Bowers in currently alive at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He has been charged with 29 different criminal counts, including the obstruction of the freedom of religion, possession of a firearm, and a hate crime. He also faces state charges such as homicide, aggravated assault, and ethnic interrogation. Before this incident, Bowers had no criminal activity. However, a search of his apartment yielded 21 guns registered in Bower’s name.

The attack was the worst mass shooting of Jews in U.S. history. It occurred at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Squirrel Hill is a predominantly Jewish area. About 26% of Pittsburgh’s Jewish households are located in this neighborhood.

The horrific massacre happened during a baby-naming ceremony. Like most synagogues, the Tree of Life Congregation has security guards during the Jewish high holidays because of the high attendance. But during normal morning services, there are much fewer people. On Saturday morning there were only approximately 75 people and no security.

The 11 people who died (three women and eight men) range in age from 54 to 97. The victims include Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Waxn, Rose Malinger, and Irving Younger. Four police officers and two other people were wounded. Fortunately, no children were harmed.

Bowers screamed anti semitic slurs as he opened fire. It has also been reported that he told an officer that he wanted all Jews to die. He was armed with an AR-15 and three handguns.

Bowers has posted many different pictures of weapons and derogatory remarks about Jewish people and Refugees on social media. He is also very vocal about his anti-Trump opinions. Hours before he entered the Synagogue, Bowers posted on social media, ““HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” HIAS is a Jewish nonprofit organization that was planning a ceremony for refugees across the country.

After the shooting, President Donald Trump tweeted, “All of America is in mourning over the mass murder of Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We pray for those who perished and their loved ones, and our hearts go out to the brave police officers who sustained serious injuries.” Trump visited Pittsburgh on October 30.

Former President Barack Obama also tweeted, “We grieve for the Americans murdered in Pittsburgh. All of us have to fight the rise of anti-Semitism and hateful rhetoric against those who look, love, or pray differently. And we have to stop making it so easy for those who want to harm the innocent to get their hands on a gun.”

This attack is an extremely hard blow for the Jewish community. As a Jewish person myself, I feel sick to my stomach that we could be hunted down and killed solely because of our religious beliefs. Some argue we need better gun control. Others, like the President, believes that a police presence would have prevented the attack. Still, others believe that this is a mental health epidemic. Personally, I believe the problem is tolerance. As a country, we need to stop arguing and start listening to each other. We need to learn to be understanding of each other as a society.