Archive

ShareThis Page
A ‘stronger than hate’ donation to Tree of Life synagogue | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

A ‘stronger than hate’ donation to Tree of Life synagogue

Megan Guza
580050ptrstrongershirt01122918
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The Barasch family presents a check for $18,000 to Tree of Life Victims and Congregations' Families Funds at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill on Dec. 28, 2018.
580050ptrstrongershirt06122918
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The Barasch family presents a check for $18,000 to Tree of Life Victims and Congregations' Families Funds at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill on Dec. 28, 2018.

A local T-shirt printer and his family presented the Tree of Life synagogue with an $18,000 donation Friday– money his business earned from its sale of the iconic “Stronger than Hate” shirts.

The symbol – the traditional Steelers logo with the yellow diamond replaced with a Star of David and designed by Tim Hindes – became a rallying cry in Pittsburgh and beyond in the aftermath of the Oct. 27 massacre at the Squirrel Hill synagogue.

The anti-Semitic rampage left 11 people dead among the three congregations: Tree of Life, Dor Hadash and New Light.

Larry Barasch, who runs 123Shirt.com out of his Robinson basement, began selling the shirts emblazoned with the iconic logo with the promise to donate the proceeds to the congregations. Specifically, the donation was made in honor of his uncle, 80-year-old Judah Samet, whose life was likely saved by being late to synagogue that day.

“Because we’re members of the community – because our uncle, a Holocaust survivor, fortunately was late that day – we had to do something, Barasch said. “This was our way of giving back – doing whatever we could so that people all over the world could show their support.”

He stressed that this check is just the first – Barasch has said that the fundraiser is indefinite.

“Your gift is great because you worked very hard to produce the money,” Samet said to his nephew. “It didn’t come easy.”

The amount for the first check, $18,000, was chosen carefully.

“The number 18 is very significant in the Jewish faith,” he said. “Yes, it’s a number, but in Hebrew, it’s pronounced ‘chai,’ and ‘chai’ means life.”

In Judaism, he said, one should strive to give monetary gifts and donations in increments of 18.

“It’s referred to as ‘giving a chai,’” he explained. “Eighteen doubled is called a double chai. Our value is 1,000 times chai.”

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, of the Tree of Life, accepted the check, made out to the victims’ fund, on behalf of the three congregations.

“We accept this very generous gift know that it can provide some comfort to all those who suffered and that we can build life with this generous (donation),” Myers said.

Samet, born in Hungary, survived 10 months in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the Holocaust. As he pulled in to a handicap parking space at the synagogue the morning of the shooting, it was about 9:49 a.m. – he was four minutes late. A man rapped on his window and told him to leave.

He said he likes the idea of “Stronger than Hate,” but he said he does not believe that love is stronger than hate.

“The truth is, love is easier than hate. You don’t have to do anything,” Samet said. “You don’t have 60 million die because they loved too much.”

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.