On October 27th, there was a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This shooting was a hate-based attack, targeting the Jewish community of Squirrel Hill while they were meeting in their place of worship on Shabbat.

As of the writing of this post, there have been eleven casualties and at least six injuries as a result of the attack. Although the suspect has been taken into custody, the aftershocks of this attack will continue to affect the community for a long time to come.

Tragedies such as this can often leave us feeling angry, scared, and helpless. Here are some ways that you can help those affected by the attack, whether you live across town or across the world from the Tree of Life Congregation.

lit candle with a black backgroundIf You Have Been Directly or Indirectly Impacted:

  • Check in with friends and family and mark yourself safe on social media if you are able to.  
  • Take advantage of local resources that may be applicable.
    • There is a hotline for victims’ family members at (412) 432-4400.
    • A center for victims’ family members has been set up at Chatham University, located at 106 Berry Street in Pittsburgh.
  • Reach out to others and let them know how they can help you, even if that help is listening to you cry or offering a hug.
  • If you need to talk to a trained crisis response volunteer, don’t hesitate to reach out to IMAlive, an anonymous online chat service. Situations like this can be chaotic and overwhelming. There is no shame in needing help processing what’s going on.
  • Be gentle with yourself while dealing with the aftermath. Take time to be good to yourself by staying hydrated, taking breaks to relax, eating regularly, taking your medications, moving around, distracting yourself, and practicing other forms of self-care.
  • In the coming days and weeks, try to maintain as normal of a routine as you can. Bigger tasks may seem overwhelming. Try breaking those tasks into smaller tasks and taking it one step at a time.

How To Help Others:

  • Check on friends, family, or neighbors who may be feeling scared and hurt. Keep in mind that even if you do not live locally, people in your community may feel attacked because of the nature of this hate crime.
  • Be there to listen to those who are affected, and ask them what you can do to support and comfort them. Focus on creating a safe space for expression and recovery for those who are hurting. You can learn more about culturally appropriate ways to offer support during grieving here.
  • Donate blood if you are able to. Even if you don’t live in or near Pittsburgh, your donation can help hospitals to treat both victims and other patients who are in need of blood transfusions. You can call 412-209-7000 and select option 2, or visit this website for more information on finding locations and donating to the Central Blood Bank.
  • Donate directly to the Tree of Life Congregation using their website’s donation page, or to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s fund for victims of terror.
  • Donate to the verified GoFundMe fundraiser for helping with physical damage repair costs and providing aid to survivors and victims’ families.
  • Donate your time, money, or other resources to organizations in your area. This could be a local synagogue or Jewish community center, victim support organizations, mental health and crisis response organizations, etc.
  • Be patient, be gentle, and be kind. These may seem like simple tasks, but they make a huge difference to everyone you interact with.

It can be hard to remain calm when we see events like this in the news, even if we are not directly impacted. If you find yourself struggling with difficult emotions or are in crisis, you can reach out to IMAlive to anonymously chat with a trained volunteer.

Random Acts firmly rejects hatred of any type, and embraces kindness for others always. Our hearts are with those impacted by this attack. We urge you to be kind to yourself and to others.