Governor Wolf Commemorates Tree of LIfe with Statewide Remembrance Day

by Hank Butler

Last month, Governor Tom Wolf signed a proclamation declaring Sunday, October 27, 2019, a day of remembrance and ordered state flags to half-staff on the one-year mark of an anti-Semitic attack on the Dor Hadash, New Light, and Tree of Life• Or L’Simcha congregations in their synagogue in Pittsburgh. The proclamation extends the City of Pittsburgh’s resolution declaring the day “Remember Repair Together Day” statewide to include all Pennsylvanians.

“A year has passed, but I continue to carry sorrow for the victims and their families of this heinous attack,” said Gov. Wolf. “We must honor them by remembering, and through our thoughts, prayers, and actions.”

“Pittsburgh is a city of bridges, and so it is a fitting tribute to commemorate this occasion with a day of building bridges of understanding, welcome, and friendship.”

In addition to signing the proclamation, Gov. Wolf ordered the commonwealth flag at all commonwealth facilities, public buildings, and grounds to half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019.

Gov. Wolf reflected on the shooting throughout the year, most notably during his trip to Lithuania and Poland. The governor carried a mezuzah from inside the synagogue with him as he visited Paneriai and Auschwitz-Birkenau, two prominent locations of atrocities against the Jewish people during the Holocaust. He wrote the names of the eleven victims in the guestbooks at both locations with the intent of memorializing them in perpetuity. He recently returned the mezuzah to Rabbi Jeffery Myers, who had lent it to the governor to bring on his trip.

“My visits to Holocaust sites reaffirmed my belief that we need to work every day to stop anti-Semitism and hate from growing in Pennsylvania,” said Gov. Wolf. “By reaching out to cultivate bonds of friendship and understanding, we observe the one-year mark of the attack at Tree of Life with action that helps strengthen our commonwealth and prevent hate from growing.”