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Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Suspect Was Pretty Much a …

Posted By on November 1, 2018

His apartment is one of 11 in the grandly named McAnulty Acres, a two-story building that includes the offices of a plumbing company.

A rusty barbecue smoker and an empty beer bottle sat outside on Sunday.

Law enforcement officials had cordoned off the street on Saturday and robots entered Mr. Bowerss apartment, said a neighbor, Jerry, who declined to provide his full name. On Sunday, there were no signs of police or F.B.I. activity.

Mr. Bowers seemed to leave for work for a few days at a time, but when he was home, neither Mr. Bowers or his teal-blue sedan moved, Ms. Owens said. Her fianc, Chris Hall, 28, said he sometimes came home late from work to see Mr. Bowers sitting in his car, smoking and apparently listening to the radio.

There was nothing about him, not even a bumper sticker on his car, Mr. Hall said.

Ms. Owens would sometimes hear him through her wall, chatting with the landlord when he went to drop off his rent in cash at the landlords office around the corner.

But he had no guests. He lived alone. He watched television late into the night sometimes. He used a post office box instead of the mailboxes at the apartment complex. But nothing about his behavior concerned her, and their conversations never went beyond pleasantries, Ms. Owens said.

I dont know if he had any friends, anywhere, Mr. Hall said.

She said she last saw his car when she went to work on Friday morning, but does not know whether he was still there when she returned that night. Like much about him, the memory is opaque.

Its very unsettling knowing all that stuff that was used to hurt those people was on the other side of the wall, she said. I didnt see any signs. I cant even comprehend that he had that much hate and seemed so normal.

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Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Suspect Was Pretty Much a ...

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims: Their stories – CNN

Posted By on November 1, 2018

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Wasi Mohamed of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh and Rabbi James Gibson of Temple Sinai Synagogue speak with CNN's Anderson Cooper.","descriptionText":"The "Muslims Unite for Pittsburgh Synagogue" campaign has raised more than $190,000 to help the shooting victims. Wasi Mohamed of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh and Rabbi James Gibson of Temple Sinai Synagogue speak with CNN's Anderson Cooper."},{"title":"Rabbi has a powerful message for our leaders","duration":"01:27","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2018/10/30/rabbi-jeffrey-myers-leaders-stop-hate-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"politics/2018/10/30/rabbi-jeffrey-myers-leaders-stop-hate-newday-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181030072608-rabbi-jeffrey-myers-10302018-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/politics/2018/10/30/rabbi-jeffrey-myers-leaders-stop-hate-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/","description":"Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers calls on elected leaders and officials to stop using hateful words and rhetoric to divide the country.","descriptionText":"Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers calls on elected leaders and officials to stop using hateful words and rhetoric to divide the country."},{"title":"Holocaust survivor missed massacre by minutes","duration":"01:22","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/?refresh=1","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2018/10/30/holocaust-survivor-judah-samet-pittsburgh-shooting-sot-earlystart-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2018/10/30/holocaust-survivor-judah-samet-pittsburgh-shooting-sot-earlystart-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181030003323-2-judah-samet-pittsburgh-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2018/10/30/holocaust-survivor-judah-samet-pittsburgh-shooting-sot-earlystart-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/","description":"Judah Samet survived 10 months in a concentration camp when he was 7. The now 80-year-old Holocaust survivor watched as a gunman killed 11 people at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. ","descriptionText":"Judah Samet survived 10 months in a concentration camp when he was 7. The now 80-year-old Holocaust survivor watched as a gunman killed 11 people at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "},{"title":"First responder: Pittsburgh scene was chaotic ","duration":"01:17","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/?refresh=1","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2018/10/30/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-first-responders-intv-ac-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2018/10/30/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-first-responders-intv-ac-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181027132425-07-pittsburgh-shooting-1027-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2018/10/30/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-first-responders-intv-ac-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/","description":"Two first responders describe the scene at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue as a police SWAT team moved in to stop a gunman attacking worshipers.","descriptionText":"Two first responders describe the scene at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue as a police SWAT team moved in to stop a gunman attacking worshipers."},{"title":"Synagogue shooting suspect appears in court","duration":"03:03","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com/shows/the-lead","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2018/10/29/pittsburgh-shooting-victims-marquez-dnt-lead-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2018/10/29/pittsburgh-shooting-victims-marquez-dnt-lead-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181029150212-01-robert-bowers-courtroom-sketch-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2018/10/29/pittsburgh-shooting-victims-marquez-dnt-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/","description":"Dismay, horror and disbelief were feelings shared by many in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday that left 11 people dead and six wounded. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/miguel-marquez-profile">Miguel Marquezu003c/a> reports.","descriptionText":"Dismay, horror and disbelief were feelings shared by many in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday that left 11 people dead and six wounded. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/miguel-marquez-profile">Miguel Marquezu003c/a> reports."},{"title":"Dramatic spike in anti-Semitic incidents in US","duration":"02:46","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2018/10/30/antisemitic-incidents-on-the-rise-sidner-pkg-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2018/10/30/antisemitic-incidents-on-the-rise-sidner-pkg-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181030092411-antisemetic-incidents-on-rise-sidner-pkg-1-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2018/10/30/antisemitic-incidents-on-the-rise-sidner-pkg-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/","description":"The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that tracks anti-Semitism around the country, says incidents against Jewish people rose dramatically following the 2016 election. CNN's Sara Sidner takes a look at several incidents over the past year.","descriptionText":"The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that tracks anti-Semitism around the country, says incidents against Jewish people rose dramatically following the 2016 election. CNN's Sara Sidner takes a look at several incidents over the past year."},{"title":"Numbers show anti-semitic incidents on the rise","duration":"02:46","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2018/10/29/hate-crimes-increase-anti-semitism-reality-check-avlon-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"politics/2018/10/29/hate-crimes-increase-anti-semitism-reality-check-avlon-newday-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181029075118-avlon-29-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/politics/2018/10/29/hate-crimes-increase-anti-semitism-reality-check-avlon-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/","description":"According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-semitic incidents in the US increased 57% in 2017. ","descriptionText":"According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-semitic incidents in the US increased 57% in 2017. "},{"title":"Pittsburgh rabbi recounts moment shooting began","duration":"03:10","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2018/10/29/pittsburgh-rabbi-jeffery-myers-synagogue-shooting-description-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2018/10/29/pittsburgh-rabbi-jeffery-myers-synagogue-shooting-description-newday-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181029081322-rabbi-myers-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2018/10/29/pittsburgh-rabbi-jeffery-myers-synagogue-shooting-description-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/","description":"Rabbi Jeffery Myers of the Tree of Life Synagogue describes how the tragic events at his place of worship began to unfold as a gunman opened fire on Jewish worshipers. ","descriptionText":"Rabbi Jeffery Myers of the Tree of Life Synagogue describes how the tragic events at his place of worship began to unfold as a gunman opened fire on Jewish worshipers. "},{"title":"Rabbi: I will not let hate close my building","duration":"02:24","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2018/10/29/synagogue-pittsburgh-rabbi-jeffery-myers-shooting-hate-close-building-sot-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2018/10/29/synagogue-pittsburgh-rabbi-jeffery-myers-shooting-hate-close-building-sot-newday-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181029082915-rabbi-jeffery-myers-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2018/10/29/synagogue-pittsburgh-rabbi-jeffery-myers-shooting-hate-close-building-sot-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/","description":"Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers talks about the shooting at his synagogue in Pittsburgh, saying "I will not let hate close my building."","descriptionText":"Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers talks about the shooting at his synagogue in Pittsburgh, saying "I will not let hate close my building.""},{"title":"Former synagogue president: Trump not welcome","duration":"01:11","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2018/10/29/lynette-lederman-trump-not-welcome-pittsburgh-intv-newday-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2018/10/29/lynette-lederman-trump-not-welcome-pittsburgh-intv-newday-sot-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181029075317-lynette-lederman-newday-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2018/10/29/lynette-lederman-trump-not-welcome-pittsburgh-intv-newday-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/","description":"Former president of the Tree of Life Synagogue Lynette Lederman says President Trump is a "purveyor of hate speech" and is not welcome in Pittsburgh in the wake of a shooting that killed 11.","descriptionText":"Former president of the Tree of Life Synagogue Lynette Lederman says President Trump is a "purveyor of hate speech" and is not welcome in Pittsburgh in the wake of a shooting that killed 11."},{"title":"Community honors synagogue shooting victims","duration":"01:09","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2018/10/28/remembering-victims-in-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2018/10/28/remembering-victims-in-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181028162251-01-pittsburgh-vigil-1028-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2018/10/28/remembering-victims-in-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/","description":"A tight-knit community grapples with loss as it remembers the victims in the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting.","descriptionText":"A tight-knit community grapples with loss as it remembers the victims in the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting."}],'js-video_headline-featured-1bsm5bd','',"js-video_source-featured-1bsm5bd",true,true,'pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting');if (typeof configObj.context !== 'string' || configObj.context.length

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Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims: Their stories - CNN

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: Anti-Semitism is on the rise …

Posted By on November 1, 2018

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto called Saturdays shooting rampage at a synagogue it the "darkest day of Pittsburgh's history." (Oct. 28) AP

People gather under the US and the Israeli flags projected on the walls of Jerusalem old city on October 28, 2018, organised by Jerusalem municipality to show solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish community following the shooting attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.(Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA, AFP/Getty Images)

The horrific killing of 11 worshipers at aPittsburgh synagogue has taken a festering problem out of the shadows and put it in the spotlight: anti-Semitism is on the rise in America.

Bomb threats, menacing messages on social media and assaults on Jewish Americans havebecomeincreasingly common in recent years, according to researchers and federal data.

Even before the attack believed to be the deadliestin U.S. history targeting American Jews violence and harassment of Jewish people and institutions was risingsharply, coinciding witha moment when American politics has become sharply divided.

There were at least 1,986 such incidents motivated by anti-Jewish bias including physical assaults, vandalism and attacks on Jewish institutions in 2017, a 57 percent spike in incidents over the year before, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a group that tracks and fights anti-Semitism.

The ADL also published a report this month that found an alarming increase in the amount of anti-Semitic content on social media in the lead-up to next months midterm elections.

Prior to the election of President Donald Trump, anti-Semitic harassment and attacks were rare and unexpected, even for Jewish Americans who were prominently situated in the public eye, authors Samuel Woolley and Katie Joseff wrote.

Following his election, anti-Semitism has become normalized and harassment is a daily occurrence. The harassment, deeply rooted in age-old conspiracies such as the New World Order, which alleges that an evil cabal of Jewish people have taken autocratic control of the globe, and Holocaust imagery faces placed inside Nazi concentration camp ovens or stretched on lampshades shows no signs of abating.

Authorities on Saturday charged Robert Bowers, 46, with murder, hate crime and firearms offenses for the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue. Before surrendering to police, the suspect ranted that Jews were committing genocide to my people and I just want to kill Jews, according to a criminal complaint.

The suspect also appeared to have posted virulently anti-Semitic messages on a social media platform popular with far-right extremists,including an angry diatribe apparently written shortly before the attack.

More: A 97-year-old, an elderly wife and husband: These are the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

More: Hundreds gather at candle-light vigil for synagogue shooting victims

More: Suspect charged with 29 counts in 'horrific' synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh

Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News that "we need to be very careful" before connectingpolitical debate and "the kind of violent behavior we witnessed in Pittsburgh,"the "threats of violence against prominent Americans that we witnessed in the pipe bombs" mailed to prominent Trump critics last week, or other recent mass shootings.

Woolley and Joseffs analysis of 7.5 million postings on Twitter between Aug.31 to Sept. 17 found a significant share of anti-Semitic messaging on the social media site they reviewed leading up tothe midterms as many as 30 percent appeared to come from automated accounts, or bots.

The ADL researchers, as well as Jonathan Albright, director of the digital forensics initiative at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, also have foundthat George Soros,the billionaire Hungarian-American and liberal philanthropist,has increasingly become the target of some of the worst anti-Semitic vitriol on social media platforms.

Soros, who is Jewish and a backer of Democratic Party candidates, is frequently framed by right-wingers as being responsible for unfounded conspiracies. Trump has accused Soros of paying demonstrators who protested in Washington against the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Soros was one of a dozen high-profile Trump critics targeted last week in a series of attempted bombings authorities saidwas carried out by a Florida man who was arrested Friday.

Alexander Soros, the son of George Soros, wrotein a New York Times op-ed last week that his father had long been targeted by anti-Semitic attacks from white supremacists.

But with Donald Trumps presidential campaign, things got worse, wrote the younger Soros, who also notedthat Trumps final TV ad of the 2016 campaign disparagingly featured his father as well as prominent Jews Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve,and Lloyd Blankfein, chairman of Goldman Sachs. A genie was let out of the bottle, which may take generations to put back in, and it wasnt confined to the United States."

After Saturdays mass shooting, Trump condemned the attack as an "anti-Semitic act" and pure evil.

"There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America or for any form of religious or racial hatred or prejudice," Trump said.

Still, some lawmakers questioned whether Trumps rhetoric was stoking the vitriol.

"This president's modus operandi Is to divide us, Rep. Adam Schiff told CNNs State of the Union on Sunday. It's not enough that a day on a tragedy he says the right wordsif every other day of the year he's saying things to bring us into conflict with one another.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, defended the president and noted that the suspected gunman had criticized Trump as a globalist.

"Now President Trump and his rhetoric is very direct, but I don't see how you connect President Trump to a person who's deranged going into a synagogue, Lankford said on CBS' Face the Nation. He's been very clear about anti-Semitism, as well as all of us have been. That is a sick, vile thing."

Federal data show that 54.4 percent of hate crimes committed in the U.S. in 2016, the last year for which FBI data are available, was motivated by the perpetrators with anti-Jewish bias.

In August 2017, dozens of white supremacists took part in a Unite the Rightrally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where marchers shouted the Nazi-era salutation "Sieg Heil" and chanted Jews will not replace us. An Ohio man was charged with hate crimes after driving his vehicle into a group of counterprotesters at the Charlottesville rally, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Last year, Evansville, Indianas Temple Adath B'Nai officials reported that someone had fired a bulletthrough a window of their house of worship. No one was hurt in the incident, which came a day after legislation died in the Indiana Legislature that would have allowed judges to imposes stiffer sentences for crimes motivated by race, religion, sex, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Separately, dozens of tombstones were overturned in Jewish cemeteries in Missouri and Pennsylvania last year.

In Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, the center of Jewish life in the Rust Belt city, the community was cognizant that anti-Jewish fervor was something that needed to be taken seriously.

The Jewish Community Center and a nearby school recently had active-shooter drills, said Rabbi Amy Bardack, who was attending services at nearby Beth Shalom synagogue when she heard about the shooting. Anti-Semitic acts had taken place in community before, but not anything that caused physical harm to people, she added.

"October 27th will forever be a line in the sand of before and after," Bardack said.

The suspected Pittsburgh gunman had a long and troubling online history andat one point turned to biblical passages to try to buttress his anti-Semitic beliefs.

On his web page, Bowers featured a paraphrase of a verse from the Bible as jews are the children of satan. (john 8:44) --- the lord jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

While this portion of the Book of John has been used over the centuries as an excuse for attacking Jews, that is a flawed reading of it, said Sandra Schneiders, an emeritus professor of the New Testament at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif.

Jesus is not talking about all people who are Jewish, Schneiders said.

He is speaking to a particular group of Jews in Jerusalem.Hes clearly arguing with the authorities, Schneiders, author of Written that You Might Believe: Encountering Jesus in the Fourth Gospel.

He says that they say they are the descendants of Abraham, but they are trying to kill him, so they are showing their true parentage which is determined by what you do. And that true parentage is Satan, Schneiders said.

This man who shot all of these people, someone needs to say to him: You claim to be a follower of Jesus, but this is not what Jesus said. Youre revealing your true parentage by your actions.

Contributing: William Cummings

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Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: Anti-Semitism is on the rise ...

Trump visits site of Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

Posted By on November 1, 2018

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Oct. 30, 2018 / 10:14 PM GMT

By Phil McCausland and Jonathan Allen

PITTSBURGH President Donald Trump visited the Tree of Life synagogue, site of a mass shooting that killed 11 people Saturday, amid protests of his presence here Tuesday.

The president, who was accompanied by daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner both of whom are Jewish and his wife, Melania, spent about 13 minutes inside the synagogue.

While he was there, the president laid stones and white flowers at memorials for each of the 11 victims.

He did not make public remarks before departing in a motorcade.

His visit was controversial in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, the Jewish community here, among city leaders and in the political world. Trump has denounced the "scourge of anti-Semitism" that drove the shootings, but his critics have said that his highly charged rhetoric has contributed to toxicity in American politics.

Outside the synagogue, peaceful protesters yelled at Trump.

"It's not about you," "go back, we don't want you here," and "we reject your hatred," were among the phrases they called out as the president was in earshot.

Adam Marenoff, 55, who moved to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood from Tel Aviv, Israel, 20 years ago out of concern for the safety of his family, had just returned from the funeral for Jerry Rabinowitz, one of the worshipers killed in the shooting rampage, when he was told to move from his spot mourning outside the synagogue to make way for Trump's arrival.

"Trump coming feels inappropriate to me. Its just, why? Im standing there thinking about a guy I just went to a funeral for, Jerry," Marenoff, an artist, said. "He was my doctor. Hes dead. Im standing there looking at a star with his name on it and theyre moving me because the president is coming. That doesnt make me feel so great."

Several local Jewish leaders wrote a letter asking Trump not to come unless and until he issued a full condemnation of white nationalism, Pittsburgh's mayor, Democrat Bill Peduto, said on CNN that Trump was not welcome during the week of the funerals, and Republican and Democratic congressional leaders declined Trump's invitation to join him on the trip.

"The horrific tragedy in Pittsburgh is not a political event and out of respect, the President extended a bipartisan invitation to Congressional Leadership to travel with him to Pennsylvania," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "Understandably, the members had prior commitments or wanted to show their respect in a private way.

Most of the protesters who spoke to NBC said they were surprised that the president ignored appeals to remain in Washington.

Amy Schwartz, a 26-year-old social worker who attends another synagogue, said it was disrespectful of Trump to come when many city and Jewish community leaders had asked him to stay away from the area in the wake of the slayings.

"Pittsburgh has made one request of our president, and he wasn't able to comply with that request," she said. "It's one thing to not know where my community stands but I know where my community stands, and it's really disheartening that he's here."

But Miriam Wess, 54, who mourned at a public memorial Tuesday, said that she appreciated the president's presence.

"I think it's important for Trump to be here to show solidarity," said Weiss, a 31-year resident of the neighborhood who has had trouble explaining the murders to her 12 children. "I know a lot of people blame him, which is crazy. He didn't pull the trigger. I think it's nice. I think it's appropriate."

As Trump's motorcade made its way through Pittsburgh to the synagogue, he was greeted with some symbols of protest, including one-finger salutes and thumbs-down signs.

Blocks away from the synagogue, thousands of Pittsburgh residents filled the streets of Squirrel Hill, singing traditional Jewish songs. Trump shouldnt have come. We asked him not to, said Taylor Wescott, 26. The march is incredible though, there are thousands of people there.

After their stop at the synagogue, the Trump family departed for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where the president and first lady were expected to meet with survivors of the shooting. Sanders said there is one police officer still in the intensive care unit and one other person still being treated at the hospital.

Phil McCausland reported from Pittsburgh, Jonathan Allen from Washington.

Phil McCausland is an NBC News reporter focused on the rural-urban divide.

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Trump visits site of Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting: 11 Dead, Several Others …

Posted By on October 30, 2018

Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) Eleven people have been killed and a number of others injured after a shooting at The Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Saturday.

Police sources tell KDKAs Andy Sheehan the gunman, Robert Bowers,walked into the building and yelled, All Jews must die. Sheehans sources also confirmed that eleven people have died. No children are among the deceased.

Bowers was reportedly armed with an AR-15 and three handguns.

(Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation)

The initial call to 911 was made around 9:54 a.m. and officers were dispatched to the scene within a minute.

Two officers arrived on the scene and observed a male who was carrying an assault-style weapon, according to police. Bowers opened fire on the two officers and then retreated back into the building. One of the officers suffered a gunshot wound to the hand and the other officer received several cuts to his face from shrapnel and broken glass.

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Pittsburgh SWAT officers arrived on scene, formed a small team and entered the building. Upon entering the building officers observed the devestation. SWAT medics carried two victims, one male and one female, outside of the building. The victims were transported to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital for treatment.

Officers began searching the third floor of the synagogue when they encountered Bowers again, who opened fire on the SWAT team. One officer was shot multiple times and critically wounded and another officer was also shot multiple times by Bowers. The remaining SWAT officers engaged Bowers while the two injured officers were carried outside to Pittsburgh Paramedics.

Bowers was injured in the exchange of gunfire. After being taken into custody, the suspect made statements to an officer that he wanted all Jews to die and also that Jews were committing genocide on his people, according to authorities.

It is believed that Bowers acted alone.

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson)

I will emphasize at this time that there appears to be no active threat to the community. We believe the subject that is responsible for this has been taken into custody, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said.

Hissrich said at least six other people were injured, including several police officers. Two of the officers were among the first responders to the scene. At least one other was a member of the SWAT team.

WATCH: Officials Hold Press Conference To Update Investigation:

As of 5:30 p.m., three victims a 61-year-old woman, a 55-year-old man, and a 27-year-old male officer were in stable condition. Two victims a 70-year-old man and a 40-year-old male SWAT officer were in critical condition. One additional officer was treated and released.

Another person was taken to Allegheny General Hospital. According to multiple sources, that person is the suspect in the shooting. The suspect was reportedly shot multiple times and was last listed in fair condition.

The shooting happened during weekly Shabbat services at the synagogue. The building was full of people for a Saturday service and police said they received several calls from people barricaded inside.

A heavy police presence blocked off a section of McAnulty Road in Baldwin Borough. It is believed Bowers lived in an apartment in that area. Police were in the process of obtaining a search warrant for the residence.

Police are also investigating if Bowers announced his intentions on social media Saturday morning. That account has since been taken down.

One posting stated, HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] likes to bring invaders in that kill out people. I cant sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, Im going in.

Hissrich said this shooting is being investigated as a hate crime and as such, the FBI is leading the investigation.

At this time this is being considered a federal violation and the primary investigative agency will be the Federal Bureau of investigation, Hissrich said.

As the mayor mentioned, weve had a tragedy here today. The work of the first responders is what probably prevented it from becoming much more of a tragedy for what it is, Hissrich said.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

District attorney spokesman Mike Manko issued the following statement:

Senior prosecutors and detectives from our office have been monitoring this atrocity since the first reports. A deputy district attorney is on site and is coordinating the prosecution of this individual under state laws involving murder and federal laws involving domestic terrorism.

District Attorney Zappala has been in touch with United States Attorney Scott Brady and as this progresses, they will work together to determine the appropriate forum in which to address these crimes.

As we always do, we want to allow the families and survivors of this heinous and abhorrent act, and the Jewish Community of Pittsburgh, the time they need to grieve their loss.

During this time, the investigation, led by the FBI, will continue and as we did following the murders committed by Richard Baumhammers, we will have a process evaluating the safety and potential vulnerabilities of synagogues, churches and schools. To that end, we have already reached out to leaders of the Jewish community as well as other leaders in the religious and educational community.

Federal charges were filed Saturday evening. Those charges include:

Eleven counts each of Obstruction of Exercise of Religious Beliefs Resulting in Death and Use of a Firearm to Commit Murder During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence, four counts of Obstruction of Exercise of Religious Beliefs Resulting in Bodily Injury to a Public Safety Officer and three counts of Use and Discharge of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that the charges filed could lead to the death penalty.

A phone number has been established for any questions from family members of the victims. That number is (412)-432-4400.

A victims assistance and reunification center has also been set up on the campus of Chatham University. Grief counselors and representatives from the Red Cross will be on hand.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Thousands filled the streets of Squirrel Hill for a vigil Saturday evening.

Thats what makes Squirrel Hill such a great neighborhood. Its probably one of the most diverse in not only the city, but across the state. This hits home to everyone. We saw people from different religions, ethnicities, theyre all gathering doing vigils, Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey OConnor said.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to benefit the victims, their families and the synagogue. If you would like to donate, click here.

Meanwhile, KDKA-TV spoke with several people familiar with what services would have been taking place on a normal Saturday morning.

At 9:45 there were three simultaneous congregations services that were being held, he said. In the main part of the building, The Tree of Life has a service that has about 40 people in it. Just below that there is a basement area where New Life congregation would have been having their Shabbat service. There would have been 30-40 people. Just adjacent to Tree of Lights service area, a congregation was in the rabbi study room and they would have had approximately 15 people in there, Michael Eisenberg, the past President of the Tree of Life, said.

Chuck Diamond was a rabbi at Tree of Life for seven years.

Diamond said possibly three rabbis wouldve been inside. Rabbi Pearlman from New Light was in the basement. Rabbi Cheryl Kline was in the social hall. Rabbi Meyers, the rabbi of Tree of Life, would have been in the chapel.

I was at home [when I found out]. I live right up the street around the corner and I started getting phone calls, Diamond said.

Meghan Schiller: Did you ever as rabbi think that you were gonna have to deal with this?

Diamond: I thought about it all the time, I have to tell you. When I was there, in the back of my mind, I always have the thought of something like this happening and what I would do, unfortunately, because of the world we live in.

Schiller: What comes to mind when you hear that President Donald Trump just tweeted about this?

Diamond: Well again, this is unfortunately it happens too often in this country and around the world that these things happen, so it affects us all, so Im glad that he tweeted something and hopefully hell take positive action.

President Donald Trump called the shooting a terrible thing and said its a shame to watch.

Its a terrible terrible thing whats going on with hate in our country, and frankly all over the world and something has be done, Trump said. Its just a shame to watch this and to see it for so many years, so much of it, its a shame.

Earlier, Trump tweeted his thoughts to the Pittsburgh area amid the tragedy.

Trump was asked about revisiting gun laws and said if those inside had protection, maybe it could have been a much different situation.

This has little to do with it. If they had protection inside the results would have been far better. This is a dispute that will always exist I suspect. But if they had some kind of protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a much different situation. But they didnt and he was able to do things that unfortunately he shouldnt have been able to do, Trump said.

Vice President Mike Pence said todays shooting wasnt just a criminal act, it was evil.

What happened in Pittsburgh today was not just criminal, it was evil. An attack on innocent Americans and an assault on our freedom of religion. There is no place in America for violence or anti-Semitism and this evil must end, Pence said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered all commonwealth flags on the Capitol Complex, at commonwealth facilities, and throughout the state lowered to half-staff, effective immediately, in honor of all victims of the attack.

He also issued the following statement regarding the incident:

The shooting in Pittsburgh this morning is an absolute tragedy. I have spoken with local leaders and my administration and the Pennsylvania State Police will provide any resources to assist local law enforcement and first responders.

These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Americans. My thoughts right now are focused on the victims, their families and making sure law enforcement has every resource they need.

We must all pray and hope for no more loss of life. But we have been saying this one is too many for far too long. Dangerous weapons are putting our citizens in harms way.

And in the aftermath of this tragedy, we must come together and take action to prevent these tragedies in the future. We cannot accept this violence as normal.

Two of Pittsburghs professional sports teams, the Steelers and Penguins, also Tweeted their thoughts and prayers to the victims.

Stay with KDKA.com for this developing story.

Continued here:

Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting: 11 Dead, Several Others ...

11 Dead in Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Posted By on October 30, 2018

Authorities identified the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting after a gunman armed with an assault rifle and at least three handguns opened fire there on Saturday morning. Six others were injured in what authorities said was a hate crime targeting the citys Jewish community.

The suspect, identified as Robert Bowers of Baldwin, Penn., surrendered after exchanging gunfire with officers and then retreating inside the building. He has been taken into custody and was charged late Saturday with 29 counts related to federal hate crimes legislation, including 11 counts of obstruction of religious beliefs resulting in death.

Today the nightmare has hit home here in the city of Pittsburgh, the citys public safety director Wendell Hissrich said during an afternoon news conference. At an earlier appearance, verging on tears, Hissrich described the horrific crime scene inside the place of worship as one of the worst that Ive ever seen.

On Sunday, Allegheny County Medical Examiner officers released the names of the 11 victims, whose ages ranged from 54 97 years old and included a husband and wife and brothers.

Authorities said Joyce Feinberg, 75, Richard Gottfried, 65, Rose Mallinger, 97, Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, David Rosenthal, 54, Bernice Simon, 84, Sylvan Simon, 86, Daniel Stein, 71, Melvin Wax, 88, and Irving Younger, 69, were shot and killed by Bob Bowers.

Mourners and community members from around Pittsburgh arrived at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill Sunday morning to pay their respects. Bouquets lined the grass outside the temple, a makeshift memorial in an area that continues to be cordoned off by police.

Carl and Bella Schachter, Holocaust survivors, were among the mourners who visited the the memorial in the wake of the shooting. The couple, originally from Romania, has lived in Squirrel Hill for about 50 years after immigrating from Israel in 1968.

When I remember, Im shaking, Carl said, when asked about his immediate reaction to the news of the shooting.

Yeah, because we are Holocaust survivors, Bella added. This is the first thing we think about. I never thought wed see something like this again. Never, especially in the United States.

The couple said they found out Saturday night that an unidentified family friend was a victim in the shooting while they were with his wife.

It was unbelievable. It was unbelievable, the pain, Bella said, crying. You run away from one place, you run to something else. When you see something like that, you cannot explain the pain that you feel.

Others arrived to show gratitude to those who helped in the aftermath of the shooting. Molly Butler and her two children, 6-year-old Lily and 9-year-old Mikey, arrived early in the day to pass out cookies and thank you notes to law enforcement officials who responded to the shooting.

Butler, who has lived in Squirrel Hill her whole life and said her children are fifth generation residents of the neighborhood, said she knew a few families who were affected by the shooting. Butler, who attends Orthodox synagogue is a couple blocks down Tree of Life, noted that Squirrel Hill, which is reportedly home to more than half of Pittsburghs Jews, is the bedrock of the citys Jewish community.

All different types of people live hand in hand in this community, she said. Youll see Reform people and Orthodox people and Conservative people and Hasidic all living in the same spot, very integrated. Even though we are in our Orthodox synagogue, we knew people in the Conservative one.

Butler said she and her family were observing Sabbath and were limited in how much they could help out in the moment of the shooting. She decided the next day to show support and gratitude to the officers. Lily and Mikey held signs bearing a message to officers: Thank you for keeping the Jews safe in my neighborhood.

Steven Schlossman and Stephanie Wallach came to the neighborhood from Mount Lebanon, Pa. a township close to the city. Schlossman, who teaches history at the nearby Carnegie Mellon University, said he has a friend who is closely involved with the Tree of Life, and that he felt he had to come out. Wallach, who also works at CMU as an administrator, said they both felt the temple is an extension of their community because they go through the area so much for work.

As Jews, we really bond together, Wallach said. Wherever you live, whatever sect of Judaism just yesterday I was shopping in Giant Eagle in South Hills and a woman looked terribly upset down one of the aisles. We hugged each other. Were both Jewish. And we just feel this bond. And you dont actually need to be jewish to feel a bond with people right now.

Schlossman said that while he has not personally felt the impact of a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., the political climate has changed to allow room for such hate-filled rhetoric. I very much see this in a broader context, with actions from the fringe, many of which have anti-Semitic groups.

The shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburghs Squirrel Hill neighborhood, an enclave reportedly home to more than half of the citys Jewish population, is believed to be the single deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the U.S., according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Authorities said four police officers were wounded, and confirmed that no children were killed. Bowers was not counted among the injured. Hissrich said the shooter was taken to a hospital in fair condition, and that there appears to be no further threat or any evidence of IEDs.

Two of the injured officers were hurt in the first encounter with the gunman, which happened around 10 a.m., said Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert. None of the officers suffered life-threatening injuries, though two people remained in critical condition on Saturday afternoon, Hissrich said.

Authorities said the shooter appeared to be working alone and that four weapons an assault rifle reportedly similar to an AR-15 and three handguns were found at the scene.

Michael Eisenberg, the past president of the Tree of Life Synagogue, told KDKA-TV that the synagogue has never had threats or security concerns.

Ive always had a very watchful eye because of whats going on in the current climate, with the mail bombings our security was that nobody has ever tried.

Because like most other religious places we have an open door.

Eisenberg said that the synagogue installed new doors so that people could exit more quickly following advice from homeland security officials. He said at least one person was able to escape the building because of those doors.

Jonathan Greenblat, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks and advocates against anti-Semitism, said that the shooting was an anti-Semitic attack that targeted Jews on a Saturday morning when they would have been there for religious services.

We will work together with communities across the country to push back on prejudice wherever it appears, he tweeted.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf was seen outside Tree of Life shortly after the shooting and said that his office was working with first responders at the scene.

President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and condemned the violence, but continued with his plans to attend a Future Farmers of America event in Indianapolis and a campaign rally Saturday for Rep. Mike Bost in Murphysboro, Ill. Trump acknowledged that the shooter appeared to target the Jewish community.

It looks definitely like its an anti-Semitic crime. And that is something you wouldnt believe could still be going on. But it would seem to be an anti-Semitic crime, Trump said after stepping off Air Force One in Indianapolis.

The President addressed the shooting at the beginning of his Illinois rally, calling anti-semitism a scourge that needs to be dealt with. He also defended his decision not to reschedule, arguing that to do so would be a victory for the suspect. We cant allow people like this to become important, he said. When we change all of our lives in order to accommodate them, its not acceptable.

Trump also noted as part of his defense that the New York Stock Exchange opened the day after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. But it actually opened six days later.

Earlier in the day, Trump condemned the violence and advocated for the shooter to get the death penalty. But he demurred when asked about gun control, arguing that there should have been an armed guard at the Synagogue to prevent the shooting.

Its a world with a lot of problems, he said. Certainly you want protection. They didnt have protection. They had a maniac walk in.

Upon his return to Washington, the President ordered flags at federal buildings to be flown at half staff until Oct. 31 out of solemn respect for the victims.

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his prayers for the victims and their families.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also condemned the shooting on Saturday and described it as an attack based on religion.

Hatred and violence on the basis of religion can have no place in our society, Sessions said in a statement. Every American has the right to attend their house of worship in safety. Today 11 innocent people were suddenly and viciously murdered during religious services and several law enforcement officers were shot. These alleged crimes are reprehensible and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation. Accordingly, the Department of Justice will file hate crimes and other criminal charges against the defendant, including charges that could lead to the death penalty.

He added that the Department of Justice would bring the full force of the law against anyone who would violate the civil rights of the American people.

The social media site Gab said the suspected shooter had an account on its site, which bills itself as a defender of free speech and is popular with far-right extremists. Before the shooting, the account linked to the suspect frequently posted about Jews and Jewish organizations, according to the New York Times. The account often targeted HIAS, a Jewish nonprofit that helps resettle refugees.

Shortly before the shooting on Saturday, the account posted: HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I cant sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, Im going in.

After the shooting, Gab said it was alerted to the suspects profile, which was verified. The platform said it backed up the accounts data, suspended the account and contacted the FBI. The company also said it was ready to work with law enforcement and denounced the shooting.

Gab unequivocally disavows and condemns all acts of terrorism and violence, the company said in a statement.

When social media users pointed to the suspects Gab account, Gab went on the offensive on Twitter, pointing out other shooters who have used different social media platforms and asking what Twitter and Facebook have done to address hate on their platforms.

Officials said resources have been opened up to families including a hotline for victim family members 412-432-4400 as well as a center set up at Chatham University on 106 Berry Street.

This story is developing

Write to Gina Martinez at gina.martinez@timeinc.com, Abigail Abrams at abigail.abrams@timemagazine.com and Mahita Gajanan / Pittsburgh at mahita.gajanan@time.com.

View post:

11 Dead in Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: Suspect Robert Bowers makes …

Posted By on October 30, 2018

A gunman who frequently posted anti-Semitic threats online burst into a busy Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday and opened fire, killing 11 people and injuring six others. After exchanging gunfire with police, 46-year-old Robert Bowers surrendered and was taken into custody.

U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said federal prosecutors are seeking approval to pursue the death penalty against Bowers, who was injured during the shootout with police. He made a brief court appearance in a wheelchair Monday and is being held without bail for a Thursday court appearance.

Armed with an AR-15 and three handguns, Bowers entered the Tree of Life Congregation and fired inside while expressing his hatred toward Jewish people, according to a charging document made public Sunday. It said the statements continued during his gunfight with police, with Bowers telling one officer: "They're committing genocide to my people. I just want to kill Jews."

It is considered the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, and a massacre that highlights the rise of hate crimes across the country.

Wendell Hissrich, the city's public safety director, said there was no further threat to the public. "It's a very horrific crime scene," he told reporters Sunday. "It's one of the worst that I've seen, and I've been on some plane crashes. It's very bad."

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Tree of Life is located in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, which is known as the heart of the local Jewish community.

Robert Jones, head of the FBI's Pittsburgh office, said worshippers at the synagogue were "brutally murdered by a gunman targeting them simply because of their faith." Jones said Bowers' full motive is unknown, but said investigators believe he acted alone.

Gov. Tom Wolf arrived at the scene Saturday and called the attack an "absolute tragedy."

"These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Americans," Wolf said in a statement. "My thoughts right now are focused on the victims, their families and making sure law enforcement has every resource they need."

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to express the support of the American people, the White House said. On Saturday, Mr. Trump said there would have been a different outcome if the synagogue had an armed guard at the building.

"If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him, maybe there would have been nobody killed, except for him, frankly," Mr. Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews on Saturday, adding that the U.S. should "stiffen up" its laws on the death penalty.

"When people do this, they should get the death penalty," he added. "And they shouldn't have to wait years and years. I think they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue."

View original post here:

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: Suspect Robert Bowers makes ...

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: Suspect Robert Bowers said he …

Posted By on October 30, 2018

A gunman who frequently posted anti-Semitic threats online burst into a busy Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday and opened fire, killing 11 people and injuring six others. After exchanging gunfire with police, 46-year-old Robert Bowers surrendered and was taken into custody.

U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said federal prosecutors are seeking approval to pursue the death penalty against Bowers, who was injured during the shootout with police. He made a brief court appearance in a wheelchair Monday and is being held without bail for a Thursday court appearance.

Armed with an AR-15 and three handguns, Bowers entered the Tree of Life Congregation and fired inside while expressing his hatred toward Jewish people, according to a charging document made public Sunday. It said the statements continued during his gunfight with police, with Bowers telling one officer: "They're committing genocide to my people. I just want to kill Jews."

It is considered the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, and a massacre that highlights the rise of hate crimes across the country.

Wendell Hissrich, the city's public safety director, said there was no further threat to the public. "It's a very horrific crime scene," he told reporters Sunday. "It's one of the worst that I've seen, and I've been on some plane crashes. It's very bad."

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Tree of Life is located in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, which is known as the heart of the local Jewish community.

Robert Jones, head of the FBI's Pittsburgh office, said worshippers at the synagogue were "brutally murdered by a gunman targeting them simply because of their faith." Jones said Bowers' full motive is unknown, but said investigators believe he acted alone.

Gov. Tom Wolf arrived at the scene Saturday and called the attack an "absolute tragedy."

"These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Americans," Wolf said in a statement. "My thoughts right now are focused on the victims, their families and making sure law enforcement has every resource they need."

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to express the support of the American people, the White House said. On Saturday, Mr. Trump said there would have been a different outcome if the synagogue had an armed guard at the building.

"If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him, maybe there would have been nobody killed, except for him, frankly," Mr. Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews on Saturday, adding that the U.S. should "stiffen up" its laws on the death penalty.

"When people do this, they should get the death penalty," he added. "And they shouldn't have to wait years and years. I think they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue."

See the article here:

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: Suspect Robert Bowers said he ...

Breslov (Hasidic group) – Wikipedia

Posted By on October 30, 2018

Breslov (also Bratslav, also spelled Breslev) is a branch of Hasidic Judaism founded by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (17721810), a great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism. Its adherents strive to develop an intense, joyous relationship with God and receive guidance toward this goal from the teachings of Rebbe Nachman.

The movement has had no central, living leader for the past 200 years, as Rebbe Nachman did not designate a successor. As such, they are sometimes referred to as the (the "Dead Hasidim"), since they have never had another formal Rebbe since Nachman's death. However, certain groups and communities under the Breslov banner refer to their leaders as "Rebbe".

The movement weathered strong opposition from virtually all other Hasidic movements in Ukraine throughout the 19th century, yet at the same time experienced growth in numbers of followers from Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Poland. By World War I, thousands of Breslov Hasidim were located in those places. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Communist crackdowns forced the movement underground in Russia. Thousands of Hasidim were imprisoned or executed during the Great Purge of the 1930s, and killed by Nazis who invaded Ukraine in 1941. The movement was regenerated in the United Kingdom, United States, and Israel by those who escaped, with large numbers of Yemenite Jews and other Mizrahim joining the sect.

"Breslov" is the name used nowadays by Breslover followers for the town of Bratslav, where Rebbe Nachman lived for the last eight years of his life. Bratslav is located on the Bug river in Ukraine (latitude 48.82 N., longitude 28.95 E.), midway between Tulchin to the south and Nemirov to the north9 miles (15 kilometers) from each. Bratslav should not be confused with Wrocaw, a town now located in Poland, called in German "Breslau", and also pronounced "Breslov" in Yiddish, which was a renowned Jewish center in its own right.[1]

Prior to his arrival in Breslov in 1802, Rebbe Nachman lived and taught in other towns in Ukraine such as Ossatin, Moheilov, Zlatopol and Odessa. But upon his arrival in Breslov he declared, "Today we have planted the name of the Breslover Hasidim. This name will never disappear, because my followers will always be called after the town of Breslov."[2]

Later, followers said the name of the town dovetailed with the Rebbe's teachings. He encouraged Jews to remove the barriers that stood between themselves and a closer relationship with God. They noted that the Hebrew letters of the word Breslov () can be rearranged to spell lev basar ( the "" and "" sounds are interchangeable), "a heart of flesh"echoing the prophecy in Ezekiel (36:26): "I [God] will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." (For this reason, some adherents spell the name of the Hasidut, "Breslev", stressing the lev (heart).[3] Contemporary Breslov teacher Rabbi Shmuel Moshe Kramer of Jerusalem also noted that the gematria ("numerical value") of the Hebrew letters of Breslov () is 294, as is the Hebrew spelling of Nachman ben Faiga ( ) (Nachman son [of] Faiga)the names of Rebbe Nachman and his mother.[citation needed]

The Breslov approach places great emphasis on serving God through the sincerity of the heart, with much joy and living life as intensely as possible. Breslov teachings particularly emphasize emunah (faith) as a means to teshuvah (repentance), and that every Jew on any level of Divine service is required to constantly yearn to return to God, no matter how high or low he or she is situated on the spiritual echelon.

Breslover Hasidim see the study and fulfillment of Torah life as the means to a joyful existence, and their approach to worship is very personalized and emotional, with much clapping, singing, and dancing. Rabbi Nachman said, "It is a great mitzvah [commandment or good deed] to always be happy".[4] In this same lesson, he notes that even leading intellectuals in the medical field will attest to depression and bitterness being the main cause of most mental and physical ailments.

Rebbe Nachman also placed great emphasis on Jewish prayer. Besides the regular daily services in the synagogue, Rebbe Nachman advised his followers to engage in hitbodedut (literally, "self-seclusion"),[5] on a daily basis. Rebbe Nachman claimed that every true tzaddik attained his lofty spiritual level almost uniquely because of hitbodedut.[6] The Rebbe explained that hitbodedut is the loftiest form of Divine service, and that it is virtually impossible to be a good Jew without this practice. During hitbodedut, the individual pours out his thoughts and concerns to God in his mother tongue, as if talking to a close personal friend. The goal is to establish complete unification with God and a clearer understanding of one's personal motives and goals.

A sub-group of the Breslov sect, colloquially known as Na Nachs, use the Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman mantra, which is based on a permutation of the Hebrew letters of Rebbe Nachman's name. This mantra was not used by Rebbe Nachman himself, but was taught in the 20th century by Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odesser.

Rabbi Nachman always maintained that his high spiritual level was due to his own efforts and not to his famous lineage or any other circumstances of his birth. He repeatedly insisted that all Jews could reach the same level as he, and disagreed with those who thought that the main reason for a Rebbe's greatness was the superior level of his soul.[7]

Another specifically Breslov practice is the annual Rosh Hashanah kibbutz, a large gathering at the grave of Rabbi Nachman in Uman, Ukraine on the Jewish New Year. Rabbi Nachman himself said:

"My Rosh Hashana is greater than everything. I cannot understand how it is that if my followers really believe in me, they are not all scrupulous about being with me for Rosh Hashana. No one should be missing! Rosh Hashana is my whole mission."[8]

During his lifetime, hundreds of followers spent the holiday with him; after his death, his closest disciple, Nathan of Breslov ("Reb Noson") organized an annual pilgrimage to his grave starting with Rosh Hashana 1811, the year after Rebbe Nachman's death. Until World War I, thousands of Hasidim from Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Poland joined the holiday prayer gathering. The Rosh Hashana kibbutz operated clandestinely and on a smaller scale under Communism, when public prayer gatherings were forbidden. The pilgrimage was officially reinstituted after the fall of Communism in 1989, and continues to this day, with upwards of 20,000 men and boys arriving each Rosh Hashana from all over the world.

Breslovers also make individual pilgrimages to their Rebbe's grave at other times of the year. Visiting the grave at any time is deemed beneficial, because Rebbe Nachman said:

"Whoever comes to my gravesite and recites the Ten Psalms of the Tikkun HaKlali ("General Remedy"), and gives even as little as a penny to charity for my sake, then, no matter how serious his sins may be, I will do everything in my powerspanning the length and breadth of Creationto cleanse and protect him. By his very payot ("sidecurls"), I will pull him out of Gehennom [purgatory]!"[9]

The main Hasidic texts revered and studied by Breslover Hasidim are those written by Rebbe Nachman and Reb Noson. All of Rebbe Nachman's teachings were transcribed by Reb Noson. Additionally, Reb Noson wrote some of his own works.

Rebbe Nachman's magnum opus is the two-volume Likutei Moharan (Collected [Lessons] of Our Teacher and Rabbi, Nachman), a collection of 411 lessons displaying in-depth familiarity and understanding of the many overt and esoteric concepts embedded in Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, Zohar and Kabbalah. In the introductory section of certain editions of Likutei Moharan, the book is likened to the Zohar itself, and Rebbe Nachman is likened to the Zohar's author, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. This is based on the citation of numerous parallels between the lives of the two sages, as well as the fact that the names "Nachman ben Simcha" (Simcha being Rebbe Nachman's father's name) and "Shimon ben Yochai" share the same gematria (numerical value) of 501.

Upon the Rebbe's instructions, Reb Noson collected all the practical teachings and advice contained in the Likutei Moharan and published them in:

Rebbe Nachman's other works include:

After the Rebbe's death, Reb Noson wrote down all the conversations, fragments of lessons, and interactions that he and others had had with the Rebbe. He published these in the following collections:

Reb Noson also authored these commentaries and novellae:

Students of Reb Noson, their students, and their students' students added to Breslov literature with further commentaries on the Rebbe's teachings, as well as original works.

Beginning in the 1970s, Breslov works in English began to appear, most notably Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's Gems of Rabbi Nachman. The Breslov Research Institute, founded in Jerusalem in 1979, publishes authoritative translations, commentaries and general works on Breslov Hasidut in the major languages spoken by modern-day Jewish communities: English, Hebrew, Spanish and Russian.

Breslovers do not restrict themselves to Rabbi Nachman's commentaries on the Torah, but also study many of the classic texts, including the Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, and many others. They may also study the writings of Rebbes from other dynasties. In fact, Rebbe Nachman claimed that while even a complete simpleton can become a pure and righteous Jew, the ideal study schedule of an extremely scholarly Hasid should include the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) with its commentaries, the entire Talmud with its commentaries, the entire Shulchan Arukh, all the Midrashic works, the Zohar and Tikkunei Zohar, the teachings of the Arizal and other kabbalistic works, all over the course of a single year.[10]

The Breslov Siddur published in a 2014 hardcover edition (828 pages in length) is one of the few Hasidic siddurim available in an English language translation (and contains the original text). Translated by Avraham Sutton and Chaim Kramer. Yonina Hall is the editor.[11]

Today Breslover communities exist in several locations in Israel, as well as in major cities around the world with large Jewish populations, including Los Angeles, New York, Paris, London, Montreal, and Lakewood Township, New Jersey. While there are no exact statistics, according to the Breslov Research Institute, the number of core adherents in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak amounts to several thousands families, and several tens in Safed.[12]

The original Jerusalem community, was founded by emigrees from Ukraine in the late 19th century, and was joined by descendants of the Yerushami yishuv hayashan (Old Yishuv in Jerusalem) community. It is built around the Breslov Yeshiva in Mea Shearim founded by Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim Rosen in 1953, which is referred to as the shul. It is affiliated with the Edah HaChareidis and led by Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shechter and Rabbi Shmuel Moshe Kramer.[citation needed]

Breslov teachings emphasize the importance of drawing people to the "true tzadik" as the key to rectifying the world, overcoming evil and bringing people closer to God, according to Rebbe Nachman and Reb Noson.[13] In Breslov thought, the "true tzadik" is Rebbe Nachman himself.

The first large-scale Breslov outreach activities were conducted by Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Bender, who attracted thousands of baal teshuva followers to the Breslov movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Concurrently, Rabbi Eliezer Shlomo Schick began publishing his nearly 1,000 pamphlets distilling the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and disseminating them to a worldwide audience.[14] Schick also founded the Heichal Hakodesh Breslov community largely consisting of baalei teshuvah in the Galilee town of Yavne'el, Israel, in 1985. As of 2015 that community had nearly 400 families, representing 30 percent of the town's population.[15]

Rabbi Eliezer Berland, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Shuvu Bonim in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, has also brought thousands of Jews from secular backgrounds closer to Orthodox Judaism and Breslov.[16] One of Berland's students, Rabbi Shalom Arush, went on to found the Chut Shel Chessed Institutions in Jerusalem. Arush leads a group including Sephardic followers of Breslov Hasidut, who mainly originated in the baal teshuva movement.

Other Breslov rabbis engaged in outreach include Israel Isaac Besanon, rabbi of the Shir Chadash community in Tel Aviv, and Shalom Sabag. The Na Nach group, which follows the teachings of Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odesser, conducts on-the-street outreach with its roving musical vans and dancers, and sidewalk distribution of Breslov texts.[17]

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