Everyday Heroes

Sisters' Unique Idea Helps Squirrel Hill Community

Sisters quickly organize a "virtual" 5K run in the aftermath of the Squirrel Hill shooting, giving people all over the world a chance to support the community wherever they are.


Flower by flower, memento by memento, volunteers have removed items from the makeshift memorial outside of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill. The synagogue was the scene of a mass shooting on October 27, in which 11 worshippers were killed.

Since the shooting, a block-long space next to the building has turned into a shrine to the victims, and a place where family, friends, neighbors and strangers could come and pay respects. 11 wooden crosses and Stars of David, each with the name of a victim painted on it, will be moved, along with piles of stones left on each, in the Jewish tradition of honoring the dead by indicating visitors have been by and left a stone.

Among the artifacts are messages from all over the world, including a note of sympathy signed "Your Canadian Neighbours."

The items will first be moved to the main lobby of the synagogue where visitors will be able to see them through the window. Then they'll be cataloged and preserved to be housed permanently at the Heinz History Center's Rauh Jewish History Program and Archives .

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