Days after a prayer service he was leading at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh was interrupted by a hail of bullets that left 11 congregants dead, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers said he has be the target of even more hate in the form of politically motivated letters.
Myers first gained attention in the wake of Saturday’s mass shooting in a CNN interview confirming that he believed President Donald Trump should be welcomed by the mourning community.
He said Monday morning that Trump is “always welcome” in his synagogue and city.
“I’m a citizen,” he said. “He’s my president. He is certainly welcome.”
Many others in the city, including Mayor Bill Peduto and several leaders in the Jewish community, urged Trump to reconsider visiting in the immediate aftermath as funeral services were being held for the victims.
Nevertheless, Myers followed his words with action, welcoming the president, first lady Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, to Tree of Life during their visit on Tuesday.
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers speaks with President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Steven Mnuchin outside of Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill on Oct. 30, 2018. pic.twitter.com/qkG6LG7Z1w
— Nate Smallwood (@nsmallwoodphoto) October 30, 2018
According to the Daily Wire, Myers led the group to a makeshift memorial set up a short distance from the synagogue.
In a CNN interview the same morning, Myers confirmed that he has received hate mail in response to his earlier comments about Trump.
“When I first said that the president was welcome, I’ve received a lot of email, too numerous to count,” he said. “I can’t keep track. For every email I read, two appear as I’m reading that one, so I just cannot keep up with it. I’ve received many emails that are not happy with those words.”
He went on to say that he was saddened by the fact that some of those correspondences “also contain hate” directed at him.
“And it just continues in this vicious cycle, hate promulgating more hate, promulgating more hate,” Myers said. “And that’s just not the solution. We need to be better than this. We can be better than this.”
Pressed to share his advice to a nation grappling with such deep division, Myers said every American needs to be a part of the remedy.
“I don’t think there’s a magic solution to breaking hate,” he said. “I think every human being has the capability of being evil and of being good. They don’t make a personal choice which direction they want to go.”
He said he chooses to believe “that good will always win out that that this is not about any one person.”
Instead, Myers looks at the deadly massacre at his synagogue as an act of hate over which good must ultimately claim victory.
“The alternative, I don’t want to think about,” he said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.