Originally broadcast at 1:15 p.m. ET Monday, August 23, 2021.
Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers has served as the Rabbi and Cantor for the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh since the summer of 2017. He moved to the City of Bridges after spending decades in ministry in New Jersey and Long Island. Holder of a BA from Rutgers and an MA in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary, he studied privately with Cantor Zvi Aroni before graduating from the Cantorial School of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. After the horrific morning of October 27, 2018, when a heavily armed gunman began a murderous rampage in the Tree of Life, Rabbi Myers—who survived the attack—became the face of the tragedy. Since then, he has set about sending the key message that love is stronger than hate. Rabbi Myers contends that a lack of understanding of our neighbors leads to fear and sometimes loathing, which can lead to acts of violence. Rabbi Myers believes that if we are ever to remove the "H word" from our society, it must start with pledging not to use that word in speech, just as he has done in honor of the 11 lives lost at the Tree of Life. Rabbi Myers is a 2019 recipient of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Medal of Valor, given out to those who exemplify the good deeds of outstanding individuals who honor mankind and whose courage and bravery shine a light in the darkest of places. Because of his service and actions during and after the Tree of Life massacre, Rabbi Myers received the medal which is inscribed: “He who saves a single life, it is as if he has saved an entire world.” In 2018, he received an honorary doctorate in Jewish Music from The Jewish Theological Seminary, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Washington & Jefferson College. He has also been privileged to receive the Heroes designation from CNN, a Rescuer of Humanity medal from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Rescuer of Humanity from Values in Action, and the John E. McGrady Award for Community Service from the Heinz Foundation. He has testified before both Houses of Congress and has spoken throughout the United States on the proliferation of H speech.
This program is made possible by the Joseph and Anna Gartner Endowment Fund and the Jack and Elizabeth Gellman and Zaretsky Family Fund.
About Chautauqua Institution: Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue. CHQ Assembly is the online expression of Chautauqua Institution's mission.