Impact Stories:

Recovering From the Oct. 27 Attack On Three Pittsburgh Congregations

Federation Leverages $3.86 Million in Federal Grants for Cost Related to Anti-Semitic Attack of Oct. 27, 2018

Nine Pittsburgh area organizations received just over $3.86 million from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime through the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP). The funding will reimburse the organizations for costs resulting from the anti-Semitic attack on three Jewish congregations on Oct. 27, 2018.

The organizations receiving funds include the 10.27 Healing Partnership, the Rauh Jewish Archives, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Family and Community Services, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, and the Center for Victims as well as the three congregations attacked: Congregation Dor Hadash, New Light Congregation and Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha Congregation.

Funding will ensure that Pittsburgh’s resiliency center, called the 10.27 Healing Partnership, will continue to serve all people in Pittsburgh affected by the attack.

10.27 Healing Partnership

“After Oct. 27, 2018, we were founded to be a resource for people who are dealing with grief and other emotions as a result of hate-induced violence, and for the larger community in its ongoing response to violence and more specifically to the attack at the Tree of Life synagogue building,” said Maggie Feinstein, Director of the 10.27 Healing Partnership. “This funding is instrumental in being able to fulfill this mission and continue working with our incredible partners in the community and we are humbled to work with so many wonderful community partners.”

The Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center also received money to archive and digitize items of support sent from around the world. They will be creating a website showcasing the thousands of letters and memorial objects created as gestures of hope and healing in the months since Oct. 27, 2018. An essential component of this project will be collaborating closely with many different stakeholders throughout the community to ensure that this work proceeds with care and sensitivity. The website will be a living entity, growing over time as new materials become appropriate for public viewing.

“These beautiful objects are a remarkable record of the many ways people all over the world responded to that terrible act on Oct. 27, 2018,” said Eric Lidji, Director of the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives. “These objects are filled with humanity — grief, love, heartache, friendship, pain, and hope. We are so grateful for the opportunity to preserve and share these objects, and we hope that this project will help people in their ongoing effort to heal.”

In recent decades, memorial objects such as these have become an essential component of the communal grieving process following public tragedies. This is believed to be the first time AEAP funds have been directed toward an archival project involving such objects.

The three congregations that were attacked on Oct. 27, 2018, will also receive funds.

“We are grateful for the support from the Federal government that will assist us in our continuing recovery as a congregation and a community,” says Suzanne Schreiber, Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha past president and congregational representative to the Long Term Planning and Assistance Committee.

“We are grateful to the Federal government and the Pennsylvania Office of the Victim Advocate for their assistance in helping in the recovery of our families and our congregation following the horrific shooting on Oct. 27, 2018,” said Stephen Cohen, president of New Light Congregation. “The timing of the approval, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, is emblematic of the ongoing and continuous efforts of the Federal Government to help alleviate suffering and pave a path forward for us all. We especially want to thank those in the U.S. Department of Justice and their consultants without whose assistance this grant would not be possible.”

“Dor Hadash deeply appreciates the support made available through the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP),” says Donna Coufal, president of Congregation Dor Hadash. “We will use these funds to help defray costs incurred as a result of the events of Oct. 27, 2018.”

Organizations that help both the Jewish community at large and people outside the Jewish community will also receive funding.

“Our community was devastated by the synagogue shooting less than two years ago. With the support of the AEAP grant from the Federal government, JFCS works to continue to help the community heal today, tomorrow and in the months and years ahead. Recovery from trauma is a long process, and our trauma therapists and case managers, funded by this grant, will continue helping grieving families and community members receive the professional support that they need — free of charge. We are so grateful that the government’s Office for Victims of Crime is making this funding available to us.”

Dr. Jordan Golin, President & CEO of Jewish Family and Community Services

“We were honored to help coordinate the one-year commemoration of our city’s solidarity against this terrible, anti-Semitic attack,” says Jeffrey Finkelstein, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “Reimbursement of expenses we incurred in the aftermath of the attack will enable us to continue to help Jewish Pittsburgh heal and will free up critical funds for people in need.”

The Center for Victims, an advocacy and counseling organization that serves all victims and their loved ones in Pittsburgh, received reimbursement for the many services they provided and continue to provide to people affected by the Oct. 27 attack.

“Center for Victims is proud to play even a small role in providing support to facilitate healing and helping to restore the rich history of our Pittsburgh Jewish community that was devastated by this senseless act of violence,” says Laurie MacDonald, President and CEO of the Center for Victims.

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