Remembrance of the 5th Anniversary of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shootings

November 6, 2023

On Friday, October 27th, 2023, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) hosted a gathering to commemorate the lives lost and forever changed by the tragic attack on the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash, and New Light Congregations five years ago, while also honoring the resilience of our Jewish, Carnegie Mellon, and Pittsburgh communities.

The event featured a lineup of speakers, including CMU President Farnam Jahanian, who emphasized the importance of acknowledging grief and healing. “People often say time heals all wounds, but the truth is that sometimes there’s no getting through it; there’s no getting over it. There’s just living with it and coming to peace with it. So today, I want to be very intentional about saying wherever you are in your journey of grief, and healing and processing, it’s okay,” Jahanian said.

Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, Dean of the Tepper School of Business, shared her family history and personal experiences with antisemtism.

Wanda Heading-Grant, Vice Provost of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, stressed the significance of reflecting, showing solidarity, and committing to the fight against discrimination and hatred. “Through our collective memory, we acknowledge the pain and suffering antisemitism has caused throughout history and continues to cause today. This is a solemn occasion, but it is also an opportunity for reflection, solidarity and commitment to building a world free of discrimination and hatred, ”Heading-Grant said.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers delivered a hopeful message on a day that must be traumatic for him to relive as a victim. He shared a 2,000-year-old lesson by Rabbi Hillel to a man who asked him to teach him all about being Jewish while standing on one foot to which he replied, “What is hateful to you, don’t do to your neighbor. The rest is all commentary. Now go out and learn.” A powerful statement from 2,000 years ago which today we call the Golden Rule. He ended with this final lesson, “If this holds fast, then anything is possible.”

The event provided an opportunity for the community to unite in remembrance, support, and the ongoing battle against hate across all identities at CMU.

Join the effort.