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Kansas City-area community reacts to Pittsburgh synagogue shooting ruling

Pittsburgh Synagogue hooting
Posted at 10:43 PM, Jun 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-20 04:09:40-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It's one of the deadliest acts of antisemitism in our country's history.

On Friday, a federal jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, found Robert Bowers guilty on all counts, including murder and hate crimes.

Bowers killed 11 people and injured six at the Tree of Life Synagogue in October of 2018.

The government is seeking the death penalty, but the trauma Bowers caused has a lasting effect in the community.

Michael Zedek, Rabbi Emeritus of The Temple, Congregation B'nai Jehudah, remembers his community in mourning in 2018.

He says the hate associated with something like that hasn't gone away.

"The trauma of people hating you because you are, not because of something you even did," Zedek said.

Mindy Corporon knows the pain of that virus all too well.

"Today's verdict is a closure on that chapter, but it's not a closure for everyone in the community that's grieving," Corporon said. "They are only five years out; I'm nine years out, my family and I and our foundation are nine years out, and we still feel the effects, the triggers, etc. of having grief."

She lost her father and teenage son to another hate crime in 2014 when a gunman opened fire in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center.

Since then, she's made it a lifelong goal to answer hate with kindness, and teach others to do so.

"I just want to make sure that people do understand that for a griever, it's a lifelong event — it's a lifelong journey," she said. "And teaching kindness to overcome hate is also a lifelong process."

The two say it takes action, not just kind thoughts.

Zedek quoted a famous speech given by Rabbi Joachim Prinz on the shame of silence in the face of evil.

"He said, 'Hitler's great genius was that he made it possible for people to cooperate in murder simply by doing nothing,'" Zedek said. "It's not the haters we need to worry about. It's those of us who think, 'It's not my problem, it's not my issue.'"