Tom Hanks joins Pittsburgh rally to honor synagogue shooting victims


(JTA) — Actors Tom Hanks and Michael Keaton were among several hundred people who participated in a rally to honor the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

The event, under the banner “Stronger than Hate: A Gathering of Compassion, Unity and Love,” was held Friday at Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

It started with a moment of silence for the 11 worshippers killed in the Oct. 27 massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Hanks was in Pittsburgh researching and filming a movie about the life of Fred Rogers, a native of Squirrel Hill. He was joined on stage by Rogers’ widow, Joanne. Keaton is a native of Pittsburgh.

“A visitor will know how great a city this is because Pittsburgh has been tested,” Hanks said.

Mayor Bill Peduto in his address noted that the gathering was on the same day as the Kristallnacht progroms.

“We gather here today on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht: a day in which Jews in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia saw the breaking of glass of businesses, saw the vandalism and the damage done through physical harm — words of anti-Semitism, reflected 80 years ago today, in the first violent acts that would lead to the Holocaust,” he said.

The accused synagogue gunman, Robert Bowers, has pleaded not guilty in federal district court and requested a jury trial. The 44 charges against Bowers include 32 punishable by death.

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