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Pittsburgh and other cities around the world that have been targeted by anti-Semitic attacks were represented in an international Mayors Summit Against Anti-Semitism on Tuesday.

The city of Frankfurt, Germany, hosted the conference, alongside the organization Combat Anti-Semitism Movement.

Mayor Bill Peduto and Jeff Finkelstein, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, spoke of how the city responded to the Oct. 27, 2018, attack by a gunman who killed 11 people from three congregations who were worshipping at the Tree of Life / Or L’Simcha synagogue.

They were joined online by mayors and other representatives of communities that have suffered anti-Semitic attacks in recent years around the world.

Among those represented were the cities of Poway, Calif., and Ramapo, N.Y., scenes of attacks on Jewish religious gatherings in 2019; and Brussels, Belgium, scene of a deadly attack on a Jewish museum in 2014.

Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker spoke by video from a room in city hall where Germany had prosecuted crimes committed by Germans against Jews at the Auschwitz death camp during the Holocaust, or Shoah.

He said it’s important to continue “an uncompromising fight against all forms of anti-Semitism, with law enforcement, legislative and practical instruments.”

Mr. Peduto and Mr. Finkelstein spoke of the ways that Pittsburgh’s interfaith community rallied to support the Jewish community. Mr. Peduto recalled seeing board members of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh who arrived at the scene to show support.

“And as we stood there that morning, in that cold, rainy October, we realized that the only way that we would get past this event is if we had the ability to lean on one another,” Mr. Peduto said.

Mr. Finkelstein echoed that, citing the importance of city officials and other faith leaders rallying in solidarity with the Jewish community.

He noted that the federation helped provide security for other Jewish institutions so that people would feel comfortable showing up for worship and other activities. And he said the 10.27 Healing Partnership, which offers support for those traumatized by the attacks, has helped build community resilience.

He added: “We went from an attack right into a pandemic. It’s been a nonstop cycle for 2½ years. Keeping people resilient and making sure their mental health is as strong as can be has been a real priority.”

Peter Smith: petersmith@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1416; Twitter @PG_PeterSmith.

First Published March 17, 2021, 12:13am

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