Mrotz, Ellison Part Of National Tree Of Life Commemoration

Bend The Arc Jewish Action is commemorating the second anniversary of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and two Minnesota leaders, Carin Mrotz of Jewish Community Action and Attorney General Keith Ellison, are among the presenters taking part in the event.

“We Rise: National Solidarity Gathering Two Years After Tree of Life Shooting” will be on Wednesday night, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. CDT, and registration is available online. (Editor’s note: The event had originally been scheduled for Oct. 27, but was rescheduled). The event featuring Pittsburgh Jewish leaders, prominent movement and faith leaders, music, and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Mrotz will be joining in an individual role, not in her role as JCA executive director – although JCA is an affiliate organization of Bend The Arc. Mrotz has pre-recorded her statement and sent it to the organizers to run during the event.

“I was asked to talk about why I’m driven to rise up to fight white nationalism,” she said. “It’s cool to be asked to do this stuff.”

JCA organized last year’s first-anniversary commemoration at Darchei Noam – a repeat of which this year is, obviously, impossible due to COVID-19.

“The shooting was at Shabbas. The idea that the attacker would wait until his prey was gathered in community and prayer and sacred observance was, for some of us, one of the more jarring and ugly things about the shooting,” Mrotz said at last year’s remembrance. “Such intentional and specific and personal hate.”

Ellison, at last year’s event, said that it was important to mark the resilience of the Tree of Life community.

“All of us enter and leave this life, but the values that we stand for, the tradition that we stand for, those things don’t go away,” he said. “It’s important to keep that in mind at this moment. This moment requires all of us to be resilient. We are in the middle of a dangerous time.”