Synagogue where deadliest attack on Jews in US history took place to receive $6.6 million

Newly designed Tree of Life campus to include memorial to victims of massacre, educational and worship spaces, and wing for Holocaust museum’s use.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Pittsburgh synagogue which was the site of the deadliest attack on Jews on American soil will be given $6.6 million in funding by the state of Pennsylvania, for a project to redevelop the house of worship.

The funding given to the Tree of Life synagogue will “transform the site of the worst antisemitic attack in U.S. history into a new place of hope, remembrance, and education,” Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said in a statement.

“You’ve given Tree of Life a very generous Hanukkah present. Your timing is impeccable,” said the synagogue’s rabbi, Jeffrey Myers, during a news conference on Monday.

Architect Daniel Libeskind, who helped plan the World Trade Center rebuild after the September 11th attacks, will be the chief creative force behind the synagogue’s redesign.

In October 2018, Robert Bowers, a lone gunman, allegedly burst into the synagogue yelling, “All Jews must die.” He then opened fire, killing 11 people, including a 97-year-old grandmother.

Bowers was shot several times by police but survived and is currently in jail. No date has been set for his trial, and his attempts to strike a plea deal with prosecutors in exchange for the death penalty being taken off the table have failed.

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“After the attack on the congregations in the Tree of Life building three years ago, many noted that our community had joined a club that nobody wants to be in: those devastated by hate-driven violence,” said local politician Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny.

“This funding allows the site of that trauma to become something more — a place of remembrance, healing and education for all.”

USA Today reported that the redesign is expected to include a memorial to victims of the massacre, educational and worship facilities, as well as a wing set aside for use by the Pittsburgh Holocaust museum.