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A Year Ago A Gunman Killed 11 People In A Pittsburgh Synagogue

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Yesterday, 11 candles were lit to remember the 11 Jewish worshippers who were killed at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue a year ago. Lucy Perkins of member station WESA attended the memorial.

LUCY PERKINS, BYLINE: The list of those who died is long.

JEFFREY MYERS: Joyce Feinberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Dan Stein, Mel Wax. Irv Younger.

PERKINS: One year ago, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers was leading Saturday morning services when a gunman entered his sanctuary and opened fire.

MYERS: (Singing in Hebrew).

PERKINS: On Sunday evening, Myers recited a prayer for the souls of the deceased, many of whom were his own congregants.

MYERS: (Singing in Hebrew).

PERKINS: Relatives remembered those they lost. Rose Mallinger's daughter talked in a video remembrance about how her mother loved to dance.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANDREA WEDNER: When she was young, her and her friends used to crash weddings just to go and dance. Every wedding, bar mitzvah - whatever - she was out there on the dance floor. She was leading dances. She just loved to dance.

PERKINS: The shooting was the worst anti-Semitic attack on American soil in U.S. history. Three congregations shared the synagogue - New Light, Dor Hadash and Tree of Life. Rabbi Jonathan Perlman of New Light offered a prayer for healing. People in attendance were quiet, still, until Perlman made this request.

JONATHAN PERLMAN: I would like the government to - this year, federal and state government, to finally take action on gun control, which they promised us.

(APPLAUSE)

PERKINS: Perlman asked residents to care for and protect each other, not despite religious differences but because of them.

PERLMAN: We want to create friendship in this city, and I am hopeful that that will happen and that this incident last year is a trigger to us to get moving.

PERKINS: We need to light a candle of hope, he said, and sincerely believe in it.

For NPR News, I'm Lucy Perkins in Pittsburgh.

(SOUNDBITE OF OLAFUR ARNALDS' "MOMENTARY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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