Jewish Groups Cheer Death Sentence for Pittsburgh Shul Shooter

Aug 3, 2023 2:08 pm | Virtual Jerusalem

But don’t get your hopes up: Pennsylvania hasn’t executed anyone since 1999

In a decision hailed by Jewish organizations across the United States, a Pittsburgh jury has sentenced to death Robert Bowers, the perpetrator of the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooting. The attack, which took place on October 28, 2018, resulted in the loss of 11 Jewish worshippers and stands as the deadliest act of antisemitism in US history. The jury’s verdict is being viewed as a measure of justice for the victims and a strong message against hate crimes.

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, expressed his satisfaction with the outcome, saying, “Today’s decision represents a measure of justice for the slaughter of 11 Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in 2018, the deadliest act of antisemitism in US history.” He also called on American leaders to intensify efforts to protect Jewish communities across the nation and remain vigilant against antisemitism.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) also weighed in on the verdict, reflecting on the lives lost and the impact of the tragedy on the Jewish community. “As we process the jury’s decision, let us remember the eleven lives lost to a cold-blooded hater of Jews while at prayer in the synagogue,” the AJC stated, acknowledging the profound loss and pain experienced by the victims’ families and the Jewish community.

Yaakov Hagoel, chairman of the World Zionist Organization, expressed satisfaction with the Pennsylvania court’s decision to impose the death penalty on the antisemitic killer. He stated, “No punishment can undo the loss of these 11 lives, but we will not forget nor forgive.” This sentiment echoes the collective sense of determination to remember the victims and seek justice for the crime committed against them.

The Jewish Federations of North America shared thoughts and prayers, focusing on the healing and recovery of the Pittsburgh community. They stated, “As our friends at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh reflect, our thoughts, sympathy, and prayers today are with the Pittsburgh community; the families of the victims; the survivors and first responders directly affected; the congregations that lost loved members; and all of the people traumatized by this crime.”

Throughout this ordeal, the Pittsburgh Jewish community has demonstrated resilience and strength. The phrase “Pittsburgh Strong” has become a symbol of their determination to overcome the tragedy and rebuild. The Jewish Agency’s Chairman, Doron Almog, visited the community in the aftermath of the shooting and witnessed their efforts to pick up the pieces and move forward. “A year ago, I visited the Pittsburgh community that is still picking up the pieces from the unimaginable tragedy,” Almog shared. “The memory of the murdered will be encircled in our hearts, and we at the Jewish Agency send a big hug and strengthen the hands of the families and the community.”