$6.3M Tree Of Life Fund To Be Distributed To Families, Survivors, First Responders And Others

Mar 5, 2019

After October's Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, $6.3 million were donated to a fund set up by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Most of that money will go to the families of the 11 people killed and to those seriously wounded in the attack. 

In a report released Tuesday, the Federation said it has processed more than 8,500 individual donations from 48 states and at least eight countries. 

"I think there's an opportunity here to show that the way the community reacted is something to learn from and be proud of," said David Shapira, who chaired the independent committee that decided how to distribute the money.

In addition to helping survivors and the families of those killed, money from the fund will go to individuals trapped on the premises during the shooting, police officers injured in the response and reconstruction of the Tree of Life building.

Some money will also go to support the other two congregations that used the facility. 

"How do you say thank you? How do you say I'm sorry?" said Stephen Cohen, co-president of New Light Congregation, whose worshipers were gathered inside the Tree of Life synagogue at the time of the attack. "Now we need to sit down and try to figure out how that applies to our very little plot of money."

The fund sets aside $300,000 for memorials, education and community support and healing.