Pulitzer winners donate prize to Pittsburgh synagogue

The staff of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette won a Pulitzer Prize — and with it, $15,000 — for its coverage of the deadly mass shooting in 2018 at the Tree of Life synagogue.

But the journalists didn’t know what to do with the money and “felt the horrendous events of that day made it difficult to fully savor one of the country’s highest honors for journalistic achievement,” according to a story published Thursday by the paper.

Dividing the money among the staffers who’d worked during the breaking news event “didn’t seem right.” Publisher John Robinson Block suggested donating it to Tree of Life so its members could repair the bullet-pocked building where 11 people were killed.

“We feel bound to you and your congregations — by memory and duty,” Keith Burris, the paper’s executive editor said, in handing a check last week to Rabbi Jeffrey Myers and Samuel Schachner, the congregation’s president. “And we offer you, in humility, our service — as scribes and witnesses. We wish Tree of Life to have this gift … as a sign of this bond and this service.”

The synagogue’s leaders expressed their gratitude.

“The Tree of Life is very proud that the Post-Gazette was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for their incredible work reporting the horrors of October 27, 2018, and we are grateful for their loving and compassionate gift to aid in our rebuilding,” Myers told CNN in a statement.

The paper also will host an annual gathering called the Dina Wallach Block Symposium to honor the shooting victims and to give the community a chance to discuss free speech and thought in the face of hate speech and violence, according to its story.