Last October, a gunman killed 11 Jews during a prayer service at a Pittsburgh temple. In the aftermath, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provided extraordinary coverage of the tragedy, and this year the paper was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. That prize included a $15,000 check, which the paper’s journalists decided to donate to the Tree of Life Synagogue to help repair its temple.
We applaud the paper’s journalists for their comprehensive coverage of the tragedy, and their commitment to humanity. On Aug. 29, the newspaper’s executive editor, Keith Burris, presented a $15,000 check to Rabbi Jeffrey Myers and Samuel Schachner, president of the congregation.
Here is the text of Mr. Burris’ presentation speech:
“Rabbi Myers, when the unthinkable happened at Tree of Life, it was our job to tell the story.
And to tell the backstory.
We did our duty.
It was our honor to do it.
Nothing about doing our duty makes us noble or exceptional.
But the duty itself was and is noble.
Now we share with you another duty: to remember.
And to assure that Pittsburgh, the United States, and all the world, remembers.
We feel bound to you and your congregations – by memory and duty.
And we offer you, in humility, our service – as scribes and witnesses.
We wish Tree of Life to have this gift – the newspaper’s cash award for the Pulitzer Prize for spot news – as a sign of this bond and this service. We give it as a modest contribution toward the repair and rebuilding of the congregation’s physical plant.
The Post-Gazette also will sponsor a yearly gathering – to be called the Dina Wallach Block Symposium, after Mr. Block’s grandmother. It will be in honor of the victims of the Tree of Life shootings and devoted to an exploration of how free speech and free thought can be used to confront hate speech and violence and overcome both with decency and love.”