Middle-school students at The Davis Academy in Sandy Springs earlier this month launched an initiative, Sending Love to Pittsburgh, in response to the tragic mass shooting that occurred at Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Eleven individuals died and six others were injured during services at the synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill community Oct. 27.

Eager to show support for Pittsburgh, the students set a goal to collect and send 11,000 paper hearts (one thousand for each victim who died during the tragedy), and is seeking the public’s help in accomplishing that goal. Each heart has messages of love, hope, healing and strength and was created by our immediate and extended communities.

After launching the initiative, students received an overwhelming response both locally and as far as California, collecting hearts from families, friends as well as organizations ranging from synagogues, schools, churches, book clubs and more, who were touched by the tragedy and inspired to show support. As the initiative is gaining momentum students continue to strive toward their goal of 11,000 hearts by Nov. 27, which is 30 days following the tragic event, coinciding with Judaism’s traditional 30 days of mourning. 

When asked how they hope these hearts will affect Squirrel Hill, Jewish life leaders responded as a group by saying, in a news release, “After the recent tragedy, it’s important to come together and show our support. We hope that our efforts will help lift the Squirrel Hill community’s spirits, make them feel safe and comfortable, and remind them that they have support in the world around them.”

Davis encourages students to live by the school’s five core values: wisdom, spirit, respect, community and righteousness. In both good times and amidst tragedy, these values guide student as they show compassion and support in our immediate community and in the world around us.

If you are interested in Sending Love to Pittsburgh, email Rabbi Micah Lapidus, Davis’ director of Jewish and Hebrew studies, at mlapidus@davisacademy.org for more information.

The school will supply hearts, or participants are welcome to create hearts of their own.

The school has released a video featuring “At the Heart, A Tree of Life,” a song written by Lapidus that makes a connection between the heart and the tree of life.

All completed hearts can be sent to the following address:

Sending Love to Pittsburgh

8343 Roswell Road, #344

Atlanta, GA 30350

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