PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The New Light Congregation in Squirrel Hill will not be going back to the Tree of Life.
The congregation has decided to stay at its current location after moving from place to place since the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in 2018.
The congregation wants stability and a sense of home, something they say they have now at the current location at Congregation Beth Shalom.
“The shooter did something that is horrible,” said Stephen Cohen, co-president of the New Light Congregation. “He killed 11 people. He desecrated a synagogue. He destroyed lives.”
Cohen says it wasn’t an easy decision to stay at Beth Shalom and not go back to Tree of Life.
But it was a unanimous one for the board and its 100 members.
“Our commitment was initially to move back,” Cohen said. “But the uncertainty of its 15 months and they’re still unclear what they’re going to do and being forced with making a decision, we decided to stay put where we are.”
Cohen says they were welcomed at the new location open arms. The congregation now calls this space “theirs.”
KDKA has learned over the years, New Light moved at least four different times.
They lost three of its members in the shooting.
“It took a long time for us as a congregation to become comfortable here with ourselves, and the thought of moving again was just one step too much,” Cohen said.