Tree of Life Rabbi Myers talks forgiveness on ‘Today’ show |

Tree of Life Rabbi Myers talks forgiveness on ‘Today’ show

Megan Guza
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers removes the Torah from the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Eleven people were shot and killed at the synagogue two days prior.

Tree of Life’s Rabbi Jeffrey Myers and Rev. Eric Manning, who became pastor of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., a year after a mass shooting there, talked to the “Today” show about their unique friendship, forgiveness and moving forward.

The two participated in a forum on race relations over the weekend in Charleston started after the 2015 shooting that killed nine parishioners.

Today anchor Craig Melvin remarked on their unlikely bond that formed after a gunman killed 11 at the Tree of Life synagogue in October. Manning arrived in Pittsburgh within days.

“Something was just saying to me, ‘You need to be there, remember how you were, remember the questions you had,’” Manning said.

Myers said it helped to have somewhere to turn.

“To know I could speak with someone who’s been there, who understands it intimately – that’s the best person to speak with when it comes to any shared incidents,” he said. “It continues to be for me a place to go for a source of guidance and inspiration.”

On the topic of forgiveness, Manning said it’s about releasing the power the person who has wronged you has over you. Myers said the dead can’t give forgiveness.

“You have to seek it from those you’ve wronged. The hard part is you can’t get forgiveness from people you’ve killed,” he said. “God is always open to giving forgiveness. You have to seek it.”

There’s no guidebook for these tragedies, Melvin noted.

“We’re writing one. We hope it gets dusty and never used, but we all know too well this is going to happen again somewhere, and if our experiences can help wherever the next community is,” Myers said.

Melvin asked why he’s so sure it will happen again.

“We’re not done seeing massacres in houses of worship,” Myers said. “I just know that one day again it’s going to happen. I’m hopeful it’s not in my lifetime but, if it is, I will be there.”

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

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