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March 5, 2019 3:56 pm

$6.3 Million Raised After Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Set to Be Given to Survivors, Families of Victims

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

A man prays at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Oct. 31, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Cathal McNaughton.

The disbursement of over $6.3 million raised in donations after the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre last October is set to begin, the city’s Jewish Federation announced on Tuesday.

Most of the money — around $5.4 million — will be given directly as “compassion payments” to people determined by an independent committee to have been most impacted by the shooting, in which 11 Jewish worshipers were murdered by a white supremacist gunman.

This group includes “the families of the eleven deceased individuals; the two individuals who suffered serious physical wounds; individuals known to have been trapped inside the building during the event; some additional people outside of the building as defined in the [independent committee’s] report; and injured police officers,” the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh said.

The remaining funds will be used to “support victims and promote communal healing,” the federation added. The reconstruction of the Tree of Life Synagogue building where the atrocity took place falls into this category.

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Donations were received from more than 8,500 people — from 48 states and at least eight countries.

“The outpouring of support from around the world has been tremendous,” Meryl Ainsman, chair of the federation’s board of directors, stated.

The independent committee in charge of the “Victims of Terror Fund” said in its report, “Distributions from this fund obviously can be an important source of practical help, as individuals, organizations and communities work to recover from this tragedy. The very existence of the fund also reflects the best of human qualities because the donations can be seen as expressions of love, generosity, compassion and a desire to help in the healing process.”

“Still, in a very real sense, no matter how many dollars might have been collected, the total never would have been enough,” the report continued. “No amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one’s life; no amount of money can fully compensate for a life that has been violently knocked off course and suddenly filled with unanticipated and daunting new obstacles; and, no amount of money can ever completely heal our hearts or our communities.”

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