Prayer Chain

Rabbi Michelle Werner hands Laurel Herman, of Pittsburgh, a folded up prayer chain made in response to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting by people from multiple faiths Thursday at B’nai Israel Synagogue in Rochester. Herman, who visits Rochester for appointments at Mayo Clinic, will coordinate with the Tree of Life Synagogue to deliver the chain.

A Rochester prayer chain made in response to an October shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh will be hand-delivered there.

Pittsburgh resident Laurel Herman, who visits Rochester for appointments at Mayo Clinic, accepted the hand-made expression of love and solidarity at B’nai Israel Synagogue Thursday evening.

She said the fact that people from multiple faiths across the community contributed to the chain makes the gift fitting since the entire city is still reeling from the attack.

“This message is not just for the Jewish Community,” Herman said. “What happened affected everyone in Pittsburgh.”

On Oct 27, a man shot and killed 11 people attending services at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

Dozens of people across multiple faiths contributed “links” to the chain. It’s composed of ribbon-bound, hand-written and drawn well wishes, prayers and expressions of solidarity to the victims and people of Pittsburgh. It was started at a vigil at B’nai Oct. 30 following the attack. More than 300 people attended that event.

Joy Robison, who is also a Pittsburgh native and B’nai member, created a prayer “link” in the chain. In the center is a prayer and the names of the 11 victims of the shooting written in braille.

People from multiple faiths throughout the community attended the Oct. 30 event.

“This is the city of Rochester sending you as much love as we could string together,” said Rabbi Michelle Werner.

Herman said the outpouring of support from around the world has helped the community. The prayer chain is a physical expression of solidarity against hate, she said.

“It’s a direct hug from the people of Rochester,” she said. “The people of Pittsburgh will be so grateful.”

Herman will coordinate with the Tree of Life Synagogue to deliver the chain. That coordination might have additional Rochester connections — the synagogue president is B’nai members Meyer and Roz Kramer’s nephew.

He was late for services the morning of the attack, Meyer said. The Kramers had their first date at the Tree of Life Synagogue, Roz said.

Herman first met Meyer about three years ago in Rochester. After a brief chat, the two realized they grew up on the same street in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh — the neighborhood that’s home to the Tree of Life Synagogue.

Herman’s family has been in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood since her grandfather moved there from Eastern Europe to escape anti-Semitism.

“My grandfather settled in Squirrel Hill for the safety of this beautiful tree-lined community,” Herman said.

Just like the attack shook the whole community, the outpouring of support is being felt throughout Pittsburgh, Herman said.

“It’s not about Jews, it’s not about Christians,” she said. “It’s about all of us standing up against hate.”

Herman returns to Pittsburgh Monday. She will present the Rochester prayer chain to the Tree of Life sometime after that.

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General Assignment Reporter

John joined the Post Bulletin in May 2018. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2004 with a BA in Journalism and Japanese. Away from the office, John plays banjo, brews beer, bikes and is looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter “b.”

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