Victims of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting honored in SWFL one year later

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Group members work work in the garden to plant trees at Temple Beth El in Fort Myers in honor of the 11 victims killed in the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019 — one year after the mass shooting. Credit: WINK News.

Sunday marks a year since 11 members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh were shot and killed by a gunman.

And in Southwest Florida members of five different faiths joined at the garden at Temple Beth-El in south Fort Myers to plant trees in honor of the lives lost.

“True gratitude for the outpouring of love, pouring of love and support that this community showed,” Rabbi Nicole Luna said. “We really felt like we were not alone.”

A big highlight at the garden will be a large unity tree that will grow there. It will serve as a place for visitors to write messages of love and hope. Organizers lit the tree in honor of the victims Sunday night.

Faith leaders said their joint effort at the garden this weekend speaks to the importance of unity and solidarity among members all faiths.

“We’re all human beings and created in the image of God,” Reverend Robert Bledsoe. “But we might just wash up a little differently and believe different things. But there’s so much that we agree on.”

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