Community Issues

Charleston, Pittsburgh Congregations United By Tragedy Meet

Members of Emanuel AME, target of 2015 hate crime, meet with Rabbi and survivors of Tree of Life shooting.

Two congregations united by tragedy met in Pittsburgh this weekend.

A small delegation from the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC traveled to Pittsburgh to meet with the Rabbi and members of the Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill. Both groups had been the victims of apparent hate crimes--nine people were killed at Mother Emanuel, a historic black church, in 2015 when a self-described white supremacist opened fire at a Bible study. One of the victims was the church's pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney.

Eleven people were killed at the Tree of Life last October. Police say the alleged gunman shouted anti-Jewish slurs as he carried out the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.

According to the Post-Gazette, Rev. Eric S.C. Manning, the current pastor of Mother Emanuel, reached out to Rabbi Myers in the days following the shooting in Pittsburgh, and the two have maintained a relationship since .

On Friday, Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers shared memories of the victims and offered a few prayers.

"We're here not to mourn, not to grieve," Rabbi Myers said. "We're here to uplift each other. We will not give evil posthumous victory."

Earlier this year, Rev. Manning welcomed visitors from Tree of Life to his congregation in Charleston.

"We thought it was important for them to know they're not alone, and we're there with them and for them," Rev. Manning told the Post-Gazette. "It helps them because they're able to see physically. Here's someone who went through what I went through. They're still here. They're progressing. They're making it."

Last month, survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL traveled to Pittsburgh and met with survivors of the Tree of Life shooting .

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