Iranian immigrant raises over 1m. for Pittsburgh synagogue

Khatiri, a graduate student at John Hopkins University, does not himself live in Pittsburgh. However, a conversation with a Jewish friend spurred him to begin the account.

By
November 4, 2018 11:42
1 minute read.
Iranian immigrant raises over 1m. for Pittsburgh synagogue

Flowers and other items have been left as memorials outside the Tree of Life synagogue following last Saturday's shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 3, 2018. (photo credit: ALAN FREED/REUTERS)

Shay Khatiri, an Iranian immigrant to the United States, has raised more than $1 million for Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Congregation, the synagogue that was the site of the deadly Shabbat morning shooting that left 11 dead.

“Honestly, after what has happened with this fundraising, I don’t think I’m ever going to be surprised by someone’s generosity,” Khatiri told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a Thursday interview, as the GoFundMe account he had begun in the wake of the October 26 shooting by antisemitic assailant Robert Bowers.

Khatiri, a graduate student at John Hopkins University, does not himself live in Pittsburgh. However, a conversation with a Jewish friend spurred him to begin the account.

"I had created GoFundMe accounts before, just to raise money for myself as a young intern living in an expensive city like Washington with little money," Khatiri said in an interview with the Post-Gazette. "I had some modest success, raised maybe $1,500 each time. And I thought if I did something for Tree of Life and it went viral, it could maybe raise something like $50,000. That was passed in a few hours."

“Basically, this has been consuming most of my life,” Khatiri added. “I’m so behind in school that I need to catch up.”

Khatiri is not the only one who has launched afundraising initiative started in response to the shooting at Tree of Life. The Pittsburgh Jewish Federation also raised over 1 million dollars, and Muslim charitable organizations have raised more than $225,000 through a LaunchGood site.

Khatiri's GoFundMe account can be accessed at https://www.gofundme.com/tree-of-life-synagogue-shooting.


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