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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The bricks and mortar of the Tree of Life Synagogue are badly scared.
“The idea is to restore that building to a state that the congregants remember, and the reason is, they want to go back into a place that is warm and welcoming, and feels like home,” said Adam Hertzman, of the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh.
The descriptions of the crime scene have been vivid and the imagination can fill in the blanks of what a semi-automatic weapon can do.
“It will take a lot to bring it back to where it was; and fortunately; we’ve been overwhelmed by support, not just from the Jewish community, but from all over the world,” Hertzman said.
In the meantime, the three congregations that call the synagogue home will be taken in by the other synagogues in the area, like the Congregation Beth Shalom.
“Those services are going to be private services, because as you can imagine, those congregations want to be with each other, and not with all of humanity as they have been this week,” Hertzman said.
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As they gather on Saturday morning, they will be covered by a blanket of security.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is paying for and hiring additional private security.
There are almost 20 synagogues in the Pittsburgh area, and all will share the added security supplemented by the cooperation of local police.
But Hertzman wants to make one thing very clear.
“There is no immediate threat. The community is safe. At this point, it’s really a matter of making sure people feel safe, because after a time like this, I can imagine why people are scared,” he said. “I sincerely believe that the community is safe. We were one of the safest Jewish communities before this incident, and we still are. It’s, in some way, a random act of violence and a tragedy, but I believe in my heart of hearts the community is safe.”