This article originally appeared in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on April 19, 2023.
A community garden series aimed at inspiring resilience and hope debuted Tuesday, just days before the trial begins for the man accused of killing 11 people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue.
It was the first of three community garden service projects based on the Hebrew phrase “Chai chaiv’kayam” — or חי, חיוקיים — which can be understood as “live, live and be sustained.”
The gathering in Squirrel Hill offered a moment of healing ahead of jury selection in the trial on Monday.
“We really wanted a space where people could feel like they were in community with one another,” said Emery Malachowski, outreach coordinator for the 10.27 Healing Project, which organized the event along with Repair the World Pittsburgh and The Branch. “They were doing something that felt life-affirming like gardening.
“We wanted to have something that gives people a space to talk about their feelings, to discuss Jewish values and principles and just to come together in solidarity.”
Jess Gold, program manager at Repair the World Pittsburgh, said the idea for the project originated with meaning of “chai chaiv’kayam” and how it translates to the planting of seeds.
“That phrase can be translated in a couple of different ways, but the way that we’re translating it is ‘live, live and be sustained,’ this idea of resilience, communal resilience and supporting each other,” Ms. Gold said. “Planting seeds involves cultivating hope for the future. We know that these seeds are going to grow into something beautiful that we can continue to look at and find inspiration from.”