The Pittsburgh Foundation

Statement on Squirrel Hill synagogue shooting

Kate Rothstein, left, looks on as Tammy Hepps hugs Simone Rothstein, 16, after multiple people were shot at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Oct. 27, 2018. Simone is the daughter of Kate. (Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

In this time of tragedy, our community comes together to help and heal

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 27, 2018 – Pittsburgh Foundation Board Chair Dr. Edie Shapira and President Maxwell King have issued the following statement in response to the horrific gun violence at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill:

“This morning, a gunman opened fire as our fellow Pittsburghers were attending Shabbat services at a longstanding synagogue in one of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods. There have been multiple deaths and injuries. Among the wounded are police officers who were first on the scene.

We grieve with the family members and friends of those who were killed; we offer support for the injured and their loved ones; and we extend our deep thanks to the first responders – police and emergency medical personnel, who went toward the danger to capture the shooter and save lives.

There are no suitable words to take away the searing pain we all feel in seeing our hometown become the epicenter for such an evil act. Hate-fueled violence has once again been let loose on an American community – our community – and we are all devastated at the loss of life and physical injuries. We also recognize the emotional wounds inflicted, especially in Jewish communities across the region.

In instances of similar tragedies, community foundations have been able to provide helpful assistance in partnership with government, religious groups and civic organizations to help the community begin the process of recovery – physical and spiritual. Speaking for the Board and the staff of The Pittsburgh Foundation, we will be reaching out to those who are managing aspects of that process, such as the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Jewish Community Center, to understand how we can provide useful service.

While the person arrested in this shooting may come from our region, he represents the dark opposite of what our community is about. As Pittsburghers, our hearts are crushed, but our spirits will never be. Our foundation pledges to help this community come together across varying backgrounds and political ideologies to grieve, confront the ravages of hateful speech and political rhetoric that can lead to such violence and demonstrate the unity that is the first step toward healing.” 


Doug Root
The Pittsburgh Foundation
412-337-9036 cell