(Washington, D.C., Dec. 6, 2019)--On behalf of the B’nai B’rith International Pittsburgh Healing Fund, B’nai B’rith International Senior Vice President and Disaster Relief Chair Rebecca Saltzman and Executive Board of Directors member and Pittsburgh native Steve Smiga, who serves as regional president, presented a check today for programming for survivors of the horrific attack one year ago at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Saltzman and Smiga were joined by B’nai B’rith members from the Aaron Grossman Lodge of the Allegheny Ohio Valley region. The check presentation took place at the Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh (JFCS), and the B’nai B’rith delegation benefitted from the JFCS staff’s insights.
Staff members from JFCS and representatives of the Fraternal Order of Police Benevolent Fund received the check. Jordan Golin, president and CEO; Dana Gold, COO; Stefanie Small, director of clinical services; and Rebecca Remson, director of development and communications, were present. Jonathan Gromek and Susan Hillen, the president and vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Benevolent Fund, also attended.
In the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 27, 2018 attack, which left 11 worshipers dead and wounded others, the B’nai B’rith Disaster and Emergency Relief Committee raised money for the Pittsburgh Healing Fund. We are now distributing these donations toward mental health support for survivors and a program to assist first responders.
“After [the Tree of Life shooting], which marked the single deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, we immediately started a campaign to assist the victims, synagogue and community,” said Saltzman in a speech during the ceremony. “Then, six months later, there was another tragic attack on a Chabad synagogue in Poway, California. I realized then that we, as a people are under attack, again. This is why organizations like B’nai B’rith are so important.”
In choosing where to offer aid, the B’nai B’rith committee wanted to focus on the mental health needs of the community and allocated funds to support programs administered by JFCS of Pittsburgh, including ongoing support groups to assist with treatment of trauma. JFCS will run projects for youth and teens through the schools, including an art therapy program professionally staffed to provide art services and traditional psychotherapy. There will also be programs for seniors and young professionals.
The B’nai B’rith fund will also support a program to assist first responders coordinated by the Police Benevolent Fund.
A symbolic tribute to victims from the three congregations worshipping at the Tree of Life Synagogue building at the time of the attack (Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash and New Light) will be made to a future community memorial.
B’nai B’rith International has helped after natural and man-made disasters around the world since 1865. If you would like to help us help communities in need, donate here to our Disaster Relief Fund: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/bbi-disaster-relief
Donors can also call 800-573-9057 to make a credit card contribution over the phone. Or can send a check payable to the B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund to:
B’nai B’rith International
Disaster Relief Fund
1120 20th Street NW, Suite 300N
Washington, D.C. 20036
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org