Jewish volunteers prepare bodies of Pittsburgh shooting victims for burial

A view of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Google Street View)

A view of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Google Street View)

(JTA) – Volunteers with ZAKA Search and Rescue USA prepared for burial the bodies of the victims in the shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation, which remained all night on the floor of the synagogue where they were murdered.

The volunteers waited at the scene all night for permission to enter the synagogue, the organization said in a statement

On Sunday morning, the bodies were moved to the medical examiner’s office, Robert Jones, the FBI Special Agent in Charge, said at a news conference.

When the volunteers were permitted to enter the synagogue, they prepared the bodies for burial and collected the blood at the site for burial with the bodies.

According to the organization, ZAKA International Rescue Unit Chief Officer Mati Goldstein was in constant contact overnight with the local Pittsburgh community and ZAKA Commander in Pittsburgh Rabbi Elisar Adom, following shooting attack on the synagogue. Goldstein briefed them on how to act in the aftermath of this mass casualty incident, in particular how to treat the scene and prepare the bodies for burial, in cooperation with the local emergency forces and FBI, and in accordance with Jewish law.

Adom, who was born in Israel and worked with ZAKA there before moving to the United States, om Sunday morning told Army Radio in Israel: “We are trying to work with the Pittsburgh police, but it is difficult because they don’t understand our needs. And, he added, “They are not taking any chances.”



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