The ‘Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’ Puts The Jewish Mourners’ Prayer On Page One To Honor Shooting Victims

The words to the Mourners' Kaddish were shared for the families of the slain synagogue members

First Funerals Held For Victims Of Mass Shooting At Pittsburgh Synagogue
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The words to the Mourners' Kaddish were shared for the families of the slain synagogue members

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette shared the first line from the Mourners’ Prayer, the Kaddish, on the front page of the paper in Hebrew. The transliteration is “Yitgedal viyitkadash Schmei rabbah,” which means “Magnified and sanctified by Your name.”

The Hill is reporting that the Pittsburgh paper shared this line from the prayer traditionally said for the dead to honor the 11 people who were gunned down Sunday at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Tonight is the start of the first Sabbath or Shabbat since the violent shooting that has rocked the country, and even though the Tree of Life Synagogue is still a crime scene, and so services cannot be held there, prayers are going out across Pittsburgh and the world for the families of those who were injured and killed by a lone gunman who stormed the sanctuary.

Robert Gregory Bowers, the man charged in this senseless crime reportedly yelled “all Jews must die” as he opened fire on those who were attending Saturday services. Though he pleaded not guilty, he has been indicted on 44 federal counts that include hate crime charges.

In honor of Shabbat, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also listed the names of all 11 victims in bold white type on a black background.

The ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) calls this attack in Pittsburgh the “deadliest attack” on the Jewish community on U.S. soil. The editorial went on to explain that the United States has long been a haven for the Jewish people fleeing persecution, but the recent surge of anti-Semitism is very worrying. Additional publications and editors across the country signed on to this joint statement rebuking the attacks.

“But after the horrific attack this past Shabbat at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which 11 of our brothers and sisters were brutally murdered, we can’t help but be shaken and concerned for the America we have come to know and love.”

The JTA said it is thought to be the first time that Pittsburgh’s largest newspaper included a prayer in Hebrew on the front page of its print and online editions.

History scholar Aaron Astor called this an unprecedented gesture.

“The Jewish Mourner’s Kaddish is one of the most important prayers of all. This was a very moving gesture by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to post it as the headline.”

It was added that the Mourners’ Kaddish, an ancient prayer, is part Hebrew and part Aramaic, but its prominent posting in the paper is a statement that Jews are part of the greater community.