Pittsburgh – When visiting Holocaust memorials in Lithuania and Poland this week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf will bring along the mezuzah hat was on the office door of Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, where 11 Jewish worshippers were shot and killed by a gunman during Shabbat-morning services on Oct. 27, 2018—the deadliest attack in American Jewish history.
“What I’m hoping for is that this act will bring solace—some solace to the survivors—and will remind them that we Pennsylvanians will never forget their loved ones,” said Wolf, a Democrat, at a press conference on Friday in his office in the state capitol in Harrisburg.
The governor said he called Myers and told him that during his eight-day trip, which he mentioned he intends to pay for the traveling and lodging costs, he planned to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp memorial in Poland and inquired how he could remember the shooting victims.
Wolf said he will also carry it to the Paneriai Holocaust Memorial, where he will sign the victims’ names in commemoration books. It is located in the forests outside the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, where many of the country’s Jews were killed.
The ornate mezuzah snapped when police broke down the door of the synagogue in their rescue efforts and to stop the suspect, Robert Bowers. Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him.
A mezuzah is a case that consists of a scroll with verses from the Torah, including the “Shema,” which states “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One,” and mentions the commandment to have a mezuzah on the doorposts of entrances to one’s home or gate.
Some feature a mezuzah in places they call their own such as their office, as was the case with Myers.