In the News

Oct. 27, 2022

To honor the Tree of Life victims, cemetery volunteers work to make a dignified space for mourners

90.5 WESA

This article originally appeared in 90.5 WESA on October 27, 2022.

Volunteer Ronna Harris Askin, said visiting the cemetery—or, as on Sunday, cleaning up branches there—allows her to connect with her loved ones buried there.

Rudel’s organization partnered with the 10.27 Healing Partnership and Repair the World Pittsburgh to host the volunteer day as part of a series of services events that honor the 11 lives lost during the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, four years ago Thursday.

The cemetery clean-up, in particular, honored the lives of Bernice and Sylvan Simon. The couple was killed while attending Saturday morning prayer services at the Tree of Life synagogue in 2018.

Their son, Marc Simon, told the crowd of volunteers Sunday that the community must never forget the events of that day.

“While nothing can bring them back to us, we must never forget what occurred on that tragic morning and continue to honor their lives in both thought and service, and to foster a constant reminder of the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history,” Simon said. “And with that, let’s go to work.”

Read the full article here