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Fast Forward

As Tree Of Life GoFundMe Hits $1M, Other Synagogues Affected Get Left Behind

Soon after the shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh last week, a GoFundMe was set up to raise money for the victims’ families, as well as repair the building damaged by the gunfire.

The GoFundMe has so far raised more than $1.1 million in only eight days — but other Pittsburgh Jewish communities directly affected by the massacre seem to have been forgotten.

Two other minyanim, New Light Congregation and Congregation Dor Hadash, were praying in Tree of Life’s building during the incident, and four of their members — three from New Light and one from Dor Hadash — were among the eleven killed.

A crowdfunding account established by New Light co-president Stephen Cohen, which according to the GoFundMe will go directly to New Light, has only raised $19,000, while the GoFundMe for Dor Hadash has only garnered a little over $3,000.

The Tree of Life GoFundMe was set up by a non-Jewish Iranian refugee studying at Johns Hopkins University’s graduate school in Washington, D.C. Shay Khatiri told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the money would be going directly to Tree of Life’s financial accounts.

When asked why he set up the account, Khatiri responded: “I guess it’s just the fact that it crossed my mind when it did, and the fact that I have been on the receiving end of a lot of Jewish generosity. I’ve been involved in several nonprofit organizations that benefited from Jewish philanthropy. And a lot of my mentors — both professors and bosses — almost all of them are Jewish. I have been on the receiving end all of my life, and I felt there was this one small thing I could do.”

Contact Aiden Pink at pink@forward.com or on Twitter, @aidenpink

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