An Amazing $6.3M Raised for the Tree of Life Synagogue Survivors and Families

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, joined by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, walk to a memorial at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018.
Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Donations poured in from all over the U.S. and the world after the October attack.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh announced on March 5 that its $6.3 million fund will be distributed to families of victims and survivors of the horrendous Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. The incident is regarded as the worst attack on Jews in the United States. The Jewish group set up a donation site, named “Victims of Terror Fund” right after the attack.

The October 27 incident at the Tree of Life synagogue killed 11 people and grievously wounded seven. Approximately 8,500 people, companies, and organizations donated to the fund. Donation givers are from 48 U.S. states and about eight countries. The Federation stopped its funding initiative on February 27.

Robert Bowers, an anti-Semitic truck driver has been charged with the attack. As per police reports, Bowers expressed his hatred towards Jews when he began firing his AR-15 and other lethal weapons.

According to an independent committee set up to administer the fund, the donations could only be described as expressions of compassion, love, and generosity. Meryl Ainsman, the chairperson of the board of directors of Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, said the support received “has been tremendous.” The people who gave donations also wanted to participate in the due healing process. In its report, the committee explicitly acknowledged that no quantity of money could compensate for the mortal loss of a person who one loves or fully heal the hearts in the Jewish community. The committee awarded approximately $437,000 to the nine congregants who found themselves trapped inside the synagogue. The committee members said the nine were the most affected by the incident. The nine were most at risk and afraid to lose their life. They also witnessed friends and relatives shot to death. $500,000 will be split among the injured police officers who responded to their cries.

The Federation said approximately $5.3 million is going to those who bore the brunt of the attack. About $650,000 will be transferred to the three congregations who were the victims of this massacre. The attack heavily damaged the Jewish worship place. The committee noted that repairing the structure would take an extended amount of time and will be a costly and complicated process. The remaining money, about $300,000, will be spent to construct a future memorial and an education initiative.

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