Pennsylvania allocates $6.6m for Tree of Life synagogue repairs

The US state of Pennsylvania issued $6.6 million USD in grants to repair the Tree of Life synagogue, the site of the deadliest antisemitic attack in US history.

Police officers guard the Tree of Life synagogue following shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, October 27, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/JOHN ALTDORFER)
Police officers guard the Tree of Life synagogue following shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, October 27, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JOHN ALTDORFER)

The US state of Pennsylvania has allocated $6.6 million USD to rebuild the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill three years after 11 Jewish worshipers were massacred there in the deadliest antisemitic attack in the country's history, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Saturday.

On October 27, 2018, Robert Bowers, a 46-year-old resident of Baldwin, Pennsylvania, fired an AR-15 rifle at congregants as the synagogue hosted Shabbat services as well as a bris.

Bowers' account on the "free speech" social media platform Gab was rife with antisemitic conspiracy theories and epithets, according to The New York Times.

Just hours before the shooting, he posted on the network about HIAS, a Jewish nonprofit that was planning a Shabbat event for refugees, writing, "HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in," the Times report noted.

Following the mass shooting, members of the synagogue have been praying at other local synagogues, according to the Gazette.

Governor Wolf Joins Pittsburgh in Mourning After Tragic Shooting in the Tree of Life Synagogue (credit: FLICKR)Governor Wolf Joins Pittsburgh in Mourning After Tragic Shooting in the Tree of Life Synagogue (credit: FLICKR)

The grant aims to repair the house of worship, which has been a center of the Pittsburgh-area Jewish community since 1864, the Times report added.

"The project will transform the site of the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history into a new place of hope, remembrance, and education," read a statement on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's official website.