The Worst Things Bring out the Best of People


Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh

Dylan Shapiro, Writer

This past Saturday, we learned of a disgusting mass shooting which occurred at the Tree of Life
synagogue, in Squirrel Hill. Eleven people were killed, and more were injured. This heinous act
was committed by a man whose named Robert Bowers. He consistently posted anti-Semitic and
racist things on social media; even before he attacked saying, “I’m going in.”

The Tree of Life synagogue is located at the intersection of Shady Avenue and Wilkins
Avenue. As most Pittsburghers know, Squirrel Hill is the heart of the Jewish community in
Pittsburgh. As a resident of Squirrel Hill, though I am not a member of the temple, it still felt out
of place. Every few minutes Saturday morning, you would hear sirens blaring, and then fade.

The residents of Squirrel Hill, but also from all over the city all came together that night at a
vigil to support those whose lives were lost. The vigil was planned by students at Allderdice
High School. They all met at the corner of Forbes and Murray. Candles were passed around, the
entire block was filled with a sea of people, many of them from Squirrel Hill, all wishing to show
their support for those who lost their lives in this horrible shooting.

At the beginning of the vigil, a blessing of healing was sung in Hebrew, for those who were killed or hospitalized, and those who knew people who were killed or hospitalized. Then, the crowd heard the organizers all
speak about what this issue means to them, and why it was important that the vigil be had. After
that, they performed the Havdalah, the Jewish celebration which marks the end of the Sabbath. A
moment of silence was held, again in support of those who were killed. The vigil ended with the
singing of the song “One Day.”

On that rainy, chilly October day, something happened in Squirrel Hill which is
extremely important: hundreds of people came together to support each other, and there is a
certain beauty to that. After today, it seems abundantly clear that the people of Pittsburgh, of
Pennsylvania, and of the world all want peace and tranquility.

Yes, awful things like this happen, but what needs to be known is that most people are
good and decent, and want to help each other, and hopefully, someday, this country will be in a
place where all people feel that they are supported, and all people support each other. Is this
future ever truly possible? It most definitely is, and though it may not seem like it, the country is getting closer to it every day.