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Pennsylvania pledges $6.6 million to redevelop Tree of Life site

Governor Tom Wolf says the state’s ‘Hanukkah present’ will help create a welcoming location for visitors to Pittsburgh ‘to reflect, and to learn, and to grow’

Signs hang on a fence surrounding the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, on September 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar/File)
Signs hang on a fence surrounding the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, on September 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar/File)

JTA — Pennsylvania will allocate $6.6 million in funding for the redevelopment of the Tree of Life synagogue campus where 11 people were killed in 2018 in the worst antisemitic attack on United States soil in history.

Speaking at a press conference outside the synagogue on Monday, the last day of Hanukkah, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf called the state’s contribution to the renovation “a Hanukkah present.”

“Tree of Life is undertaking a project to remember the past, to inform the present, and promote healing for the future,” Wolf said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “And I am so proud to support the communities’ efforts to reimagine this space, to create a welcoming place for residents, for visitors in Pittsburgh to reflect, and to learn, and to grow.”

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, rabbi of the Tree of Life synagogue, also acknowledged the holiday in his remarks and with the menorah he presented to Wolf as a gift.

“Hanukkah means rededication,” Myers said. “And that is indeed the journey that we are on.”

The money from the state will be used to renovate the synagogue’s main sanctuary as well as to replace the synagogue’s chapel, which was where several of the victims of the attack were killed. The synagogue will also build a garden outside the synagogue as a memorial to the 11 victims.

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