Mayim Bialik makes a ‘pilgrimage’ to Pittsburgh

Actress visits site of deadly shooting of Jewish worshipers, says she ‘felt this tragedy’ despite living across the country

Actress and author Mayim Bialik in Los Angeles, May 23, 2017. (AP/Damian Dovarganes)
Actress and author Mayim Bialik in Los Angeles, May 23, 2017. (AP/Damian Dovarganes)

JTA — Mayim Bialik last weekend made a “pilgrimage” to Pittsburgh to support the Pennsylvania city’s Jewish community, she said on her Grok Nation website.

The popular US Jewish actress recalled how she felt on October 27, 2018, upon hearing that a gunman had killed 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue building during Shabbat morning services.

“I wept as I read the news. As a Jewish person living all the way across the country, I felt this tragedy as if it were happening to my community,” Bialik wrote. “Indeed, it was happening to my community. The family of Jews in this world is a small family. In the United States, we make up the same percentage of the population as the Amish: 2 percent. Our story of survival for thousands of years despite persecution in every century is why we feel so connected to one another.

“It is that connection that inspired me to reach out the next day to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to simply say, ‘How can I help?’”

Bialik gave five talks during her three days in Pittsburgh, February 8-10.

A makeshift memorial stands outside the Tree of Life synagogue in the aftermath of a deadly shooting in Pittsburgh, on October 29, 2018 in which eleven Jews were killed while at Shabbat services. (AP/Matt Rourke)

She met at Hillel with student leaders from area colleges, with young adult leaders of the Pittsburgh Jewish federation, and with young adult leaders of the local JCC. She attended Shabbat services at two synagogues, visited the local police and fire station where the first responders to the shooting work, and visited the Tree of Life building, which she was only permitted to see from the outside.

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