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Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Spurs Massive Increase in Donations to Jewish Groups



Last weekend’s shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people was about a gruesome of a reminder as possible that anti-Semitism still very much exists in this country and throughout the world. In the wake of the tragedy, a flood of donations has come into Pittsburgh, showing that there are a lot of generous people and that there are a lot more people who are friends than are supporters of hateful ideology.

Activity picked up quickly on and GoFundMe after the shooting as people started giving any amount of money they could in order to help people like victims and responding police officers, according to The New York Post. A GoFundMe page even surpassed $1 million, which was the amount it originally hoped to raise. Muslims experience their fair share of discrimination and hate, so when they saw Judaism under attack, they knew they had to help. Donations from Muslim groups came out to over $150,000.

Larry Lieberman, chief operating officer of Charity Navigator, explained why he expected the outpouring of support.

“We’re an enormously generous country and Americans want to act when they feel their community members are suffering. That suffering could be a hurricane, it could be a tragic mass shooting. It could be a flood,” Lieberman said.

In the days following the shooting, donations increased dramatically for 30 Jewish faith-related organizations. Authorities said that the victims were attacked for being Jewish, and the alleged shooter’s online postings include deeply hateful and anti-Semitic content, and a final post suggested he was about to take action. The suspect mentioned the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and erroneously believed that the group’s work in aiding those in need meant that they were acting as a shadowy Jewish group and trying to help bring an infestation of migrants, playing on a number of anti-Semitic tropes. In response, the community at large gave the most amount of money during the charity spree to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Searches for the charity increased a lot as well.

The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Critical Needs program announced a few hours ago that it will match donations made to eight organizations that it picked, according to The Pittsburgh Business Times. These organizations are directly helping with the shooting fallout. This program also crowdfunds, like GoFundMe, and it’s raised almost $1 million a year in its five years of existence.

The Critical Needs program, which raises money through crowdfunding, has raised almost $4 million over the past five years, is now offering support to Squirrel Hill.

A number of groups, like United Way, were ready to help out after the tragedy because they knew from past experiences that there would be an outpouring of support and a need to make sure the support gets to where it needs. Lieberman thinks that this time, there’s a different feeling in the air compared to other tragedies, which made people donate quicker, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

“What’s different this time is that love is not just being shown to the community but also to all people who are at risk,” he said. “Americans are showing their love for the Pittsburgh community and the Jewish community and the entire community of all religions in this country by taking action to support an organization singled out by the perpetrator.”


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