Community Issues

Tree of Life Victims Memorialized at PA State Capitol

Rare joint legislative session approves making April 10 "Stronger Than Hate" Day

Victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting were remembered during memorial services at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg today. Members of the state House and Senate met together in a rare joint session, hosting two dozen members of the three congregations that were worshiping at the synagogue the day of the massacre in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood. 11 people were killed and 7 others wounded.

"To have grounds to come together where Republicans and Democrats meet on something that's so foundational, maybe that can begin to show the level of civil discourse that we now need to have," Rabbi Cheryl Klein told Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV . Klein leads Dor Hadash, one of the congregations that was attacked.

PA Rep. Dan Frankel is from Squirrel Hill, where the October 27 massacre occurred. Images: Rep. Dan Frankel Twitter page

During the session, lawmakers voted unanimously to pass Rep. Dan Frankel's resolution to establish April 10 as "Stronger Than Hate Day" in Pennsylvania to honor the victims, survivors, families and first responders. For Frankel, this was personal. He's a Squirrel Hill native.

The assault on these three congregations was an act of unimaginable evil. But it has been met with unfathomable bravery, empathy and love. - PA Rep. Dan Frankel

Andrea Wedner, who was wounded in the shooting, made the trip to Harrisburg. Her mother, Rose Mallinger, was killed. Wedner told KDK that hearing Frankel talk about her mother and the other victims on the house floor was emotional. "It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear her name. I miss her terribly. She shouldn't have died, and she shouldn't have died this way."

Survivors, and families of the victims attended today's ceremony. Images: Rep. Dan Frankel Twitter page

Michele Rosenthal whose brothers David and Cecil were killed also attended.She likes to talk about their legacy. "Just spreading love and kindness. That's what makes Pittsburgh so wonderful, that's how we're gonna overcome this hate," she told KDKA.

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