Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers delivered an emotional sermon on Saturday in which he blamed politicians’ “hate speech” for the Synagogue massacre. He explained to the congregation that he delivered the same message personally to President Donald Trump on Tuesday when he and first lady Melania Trump visited Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha.
Myers said in the sermon:
“I said to him, ‘Mr. President, hate speech leads to hateful actions. Hate speech leads to what happened in my sanctuary, where seven of my congregants were slaughtered. I witnessed it with my eyes.”
While wearing a rainbow-colored prayer shawl and a Pittsburgh-themed yarmulke, Rabbi Myers clearly stated his frustration with Washington. He added, however, that he doesn’t blame the President or “any one person” for the attack.
The accused Synagogue shooter yelled during the attack that he wanted to “kill Jews,” partially because Jewish groups have been helping refugees settle in the country.
In an ABC News interview, Myers recalled that the morning of October 27 was typical. He added, “The usuals were there. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary in any way, shape or form.” There were about a dozen congregants who were just beginning service when gunshots rang out.
Some people were evacuated out a side door, but eight people remained in the room. Of them, one survived.
Myers was criticized by some for meeting with the president on Tuesday. He told reporters that he received death threats for telling people Trump was welcome at the synagogue. During his sermon on Saturday, Myers explained he drew on “lessons from Jewish tradition in welcoming the president” to the city, despite the criticism.
On NBC’s Today show last week, Rabbi Myers stated, “We’ve got to stop hate and it can’t just be to say we need to stop hate.” He added, “Hate is not welcome here in Pittsburgh. It should not be welcome in our borders at all.”