After synagogue gunman’s death sentence, Pittsburgh’s Jews feel relief, resilience — and gratitude

by | Aug 3, 2023 | Religion

PITTSBURGH (JTA) — The overriding feeling in this city now that the gunman convicted of murdering 11 Jews here in 2018 has been sentenced to death is gratitude.Not for the penalty itself, which was the preference of some but not all of the victims’ families and which some local Jews openly opposed, and not even for the end of a trial whose long delay protracted communal trauma.
Instead, the gratitude is for people — those who made the trial happen, those who supported the victims’ family members as they sat through weeks of painful testimony, and those who kept the singular Jewish community thriving even when so much had been lost.
Jeffrey Myers, the rabbi of the Tree of Life congregation, which was housed in the synagogue the gunman attacked, opened a press conference at the Jewish community center in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood with a prayer of thanks.
Dozens of family members and survivors of the attack joined him as he recited the Shehecheyanu prayer in Hebrew, then translated it for the media. The prayer, he said, thanks God, “who has kept us alive, sustained us and enabled us to reach this stage.”
There was palpable relief. “The only thing positive about the sentencing of a criminal is that this long slog is over,” said Audrey Glickman, who …

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