Question 6 (Additional info)

Is there anything else you would want to share or include for us to consider?

I felt like Pitt didn’t really take into account their students’ needs following the tragedy. Classes were not canceled on Monday, and it was very difficult to get out of bed to go to school, especially truly feeling unsafe for the first time ever. Pitt should be required to teach about combatting antisemitism so that a similar tragedy doesn’t happen again, and that Jewish students feel like they belong on campus.

I think this is a great initiative and I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the coming semester.

Back home for the summer in NJ, I wore the Stronger than Hate Pitt t-shirt they’d given out at the Tree of Life memorial event at Pitt. I was just wearing it at the store when a Jewish woman and her daughter came up to me and tearfully thanked me for remembering Tree of Life and wearing a symbol of support. The experience really shook me. I went home still thinking about how such a small gesture could mean so much to those Jewish women. It gave me a lot to think about that night.

Nope. Thank you for doing this very important work!

After Tree of Life, I especially looked into news reports trying to dissect the shooter’s motivations. He’d had no violent crimes before he shot at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and the only suspicious activity he’d had was subscribing to a highly antisemitic forum. In summary, sensationalist news made this man mortally scared of Jews, and gun laws allowed him to proceed with killing Jews. Hate entered the scene somewhere, but I don’t think anyone learns anything if we dismiss one domestic terrorist (one out of dozens) as some hateful psycho. We need systematic news and gun reform.

Please consider showing the sides of “gun free zone” versus a mass shooting happening. Also, what the University of Pittsburgh is doing to keep students safe.

I would like to make people aware that even after this horrific tragedy, antisemitism can still occur today. Like the people of Pittsburgh, it is important to take a stand against these horrific actions that may occur and support those who may be affected by constant scrutiny.

I’m so tired of hate. I’m so exhausted seeing people who don’t consider life from another person’s perspective cause so much harm. I’m so tired of being judged based solely on my genetics as if they dictate everything about me. And it hurts to become so desensitized to attacks like this, only for them to hit closer to home and remind me just how close I am to death at any moment. It’s like living on a rollercoaster you can never see nor know the end of.

I have been within 10 minutes of 3 mass shootings in the past 6-7 years. Before the Tree of Life tragedy, I was in Orlando when the shootings at the gay club occurred. I was also in Charleston, SC the year before that at the same time as the mass shooting there. I have seen multiple kinds of reactions to this type of tragedy. I have noticed that some mass shootings fly under the radar and some are almost commercialized. I struggle to understand the appropriate response. It has not gotten easier with each one.

Why did Pitt spend copious resources to offer support/counseling for students and release statements of mourning and solidarity in the aftermath of an off-campus tragedy, while they refused to even acknowledge Alina Sheykhet’s death, let alone offer support or advocate for justice? Because one situation gives them the opportunity to virtue signal, and the other is unsavory to donors and prospective students. Fuck Pitt.

I believe there is something to say about being thrust into a national political narrative at such alarming speed. Pittsburgh has always been a home to me and my family, and to now think that it is a city that can be used as an example when it comes to gun control or to examining the ideological state of the United States is disheartening. While much of the country has revolved around the steel we created, or Pittsburgh technological innovation, the hopeless feeling of being sucked into this national crisis is something us Yinzers could have never prepared for.

Please pay tribute to both the victims of this tragedy, and to the brave police officers responding. Please, do not politicize the event, as too often has been done, but please instead pay tribute to the fallen in a manner respectful of all, regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation.

That day marks the only time I ever purposefully turned on cable news in my life.

I believe schools and universities in the area should have cancelled school the Monday following the shooting. It is unreasonable to expect students (especially Jewish students) to feel safe and supported when they could have an exam or a full day of lectures two days after an incident as horrible as this.

Pitt should’ve done better. Hillel should’ve done better. I needed more support.

Shortly after the shooting (about three weeks), my club sports team and I decided to all wear our “Stronger than Hate” shirts to a tournament in NJ. While many other teams there acknowledged our shirts, there were several schools that had simply forgotten about the shooting and were confused as to why we had a Star of David on our shirt, coming from a public university. I was amazed that while Pitt was still grieving through this shooting, so many other schools had already forgotten and moved on.

Thank you for making this survey 🙂

Thank you to whoever is doing this. I haven’t lived in Squirrel Hill long, but if it means this much to me, I can’t imagine how much it means to the people who’ve called Squirrel Hill home for generations.

I wasn’t there. I am not Jewish. My roommate is, and it was a really tough time for him. It was a difficult grieving process for all of us because of this. You don’t want to become a tragedy vampire, but thinking about the other two times where I was close to similar events, I know that it can happen anywhere and to anyone. It should be talked about, but it is important to consider the actual victims and witnesses and what they need and want, as there are still and will always be people directly impacted by this event.

A strong thought I had through it all was how I was connected to it. I love Pittsburgh and felt a connection to the city the moment I started living there for school. In addition, I am very connected to the Jewish community and would consider Judaism to be very important to me. However, I had to acknowledge that I am not from Pittsburgh and I had friends who knew people there but I did not know anyone personally. Therefore, I felt strange being so affected knowing that people around me in the city needed much more comfort than I.

The Monday after the shooting, I had a morning class, and my professor addressed the tragedy and broke down crying. She said that her best friend attends that synagogue and she just happened not to go that day. Had she gone, she could have died. Before that, a girl in my creative writing class had said that she was having a religious crisis and was potentially going to visit the Tree of Life the day the shooting happened. Had she gone, she could have died. People we know could have died. People we know DID die. It was so close.

I remember I was talking to my mom on the phone the week after the shooting, walking down Centre Ave near Market District to catch the bus, and I was passing the funeral viewing of two of the victims. You watch these things on the news and you feel bad for the victims, but when you see it in person…When you see it in person that has a completely different impact on your life. And you want to become part of the change to never have this happen again.

I was going through the conversion process at the time, and had been for about a year. That created a lot of complicated feelings for me: I felt stuck between two worlds. I felt //Jewish// and wanted to mourn and grieve with my community. But I also wasn’t technically Jewish yet and didn’t want to be disrespectful. This time was a moment when the community really opened its arms to me and I felt fully a part of it. Someone said to me “however your grieve is the Jewish way to grieve because you’re Jewish.” I’ll never forget that moment.

No matter what your religion, skin color, gender identity, there is too much hate. I’m proud that “Pittsburgh is stronger than hate” and other variations were made as a phrase that everyone could stand behind. I know that even this nation-wide college fashion account posted the phrase to show support. Additionally, on my experience within my dorm as the event occurred, I felt like I was almost in a horrific dystopian novel. I felt distant from my country and disgusted with humans that harbor this kind of hate. There was a heavy weight that day.

Though I was not personally touched by the shooting, I was aware of the emotional outcry and that had made me less aloof.

Here’s the story about the Jewish doctor who responded to the shooter’s injuries because it was incredible to read.

Every minority group in America is vulnerable right now, and it’s not about who’s the most vulnerable or who’s the least. We have to protect EVERYONE, no matter what.

Thank you so much for doing this. This is something very important to me and I’m so glad people like you are taking action to remember this disheartening event. I wrote a poem directly after the event, and I’ve attached it below. (See additional media)