A rabbi who survived the deadly attack on the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh has reportedly received “hate mail” for comments he made about President Donald Trump.
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was leading prayer at the synagogue when an anti-semitic gunman opened fire Saturday morning, survived by hiding in a bathroom and holding the door shut “with all his might” until SWAT officers arrived. Eleven worshippers from multiple congregations, including his own, were killed.
While many people, including other survivors, linked the devastating synagogue attack to Trump’s careless rhetoric, Rabbi Myers told reporters Monday that he would be honored to welcome the president to his city and even meet with him. Those comments, Myers claims, led to a storm of hate mail.
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers says he has no plans at the moment to meet with President Trump when he arrives in Pittsburgh: "My attention will be with the family. I have a funeral and I must tend to their needs" pic.twitter.com/TcDpJzlq0m
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 30, 2018
“When I first said that the president was welcome, I’ve received a lot of emails, too numerous to count,” the rabbi told CNN Tuesday morning. “I’ve received many that are not happy with those words.”
“Those emails also contain hate. It just continues in this vicious cycle,” he added. “We need to be better than this. We can be better than this.”
Rabbi Myers stressed that hateful rhetoric on both sides of the political aisle needs to cease.
Speaking to elected officials, Myers said, “Americans listen to you. They get their instruction from you. When you speak words of hate, you say to them, ‘This is OK. You can do it as well.'”
“So, I turn to all of our elected leaders, because hate doesn’t know a political party,” he said, adding, “I turn to them to say tone down the hate. Speak words of love. Speak words of decency and of respect.”