In the blocks surrounding the Tree of Life synagogue, residents can be found consoling one another and offering expressions of love and support in the form of flowers and cards.

Many of the flowers left at the memorials following Saturday’s shooting are flowers crafted by the florists at the nearly 80-year-old Squirrel Hill Flower Shop.

Ronna Wedner Levin has been running the shop on Murray Avenue since her father passed about 40 years ago. The shop’s phone has been ringing with calls from around the country for flowers in response to the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue — where Levin has worshipped her entire life.


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Florist Vikory Ohmer, 69, said the community’s pain is still “very visceral.”

“People are grieving, but everyone is so determined to show the world that they’re not afraid to live.”

“They were innocents,” Ohmer added, referring to the victims. “They were all family in some way.”

Vikory isn’t Jewish, but said “being around, they have taught me so much about the community.”

In the flower shop’s window, signs are placed that read “You Belong” and Hebrew phrases wishing for peace and healing. To heal, “it will take time,” Ohmer said.

Kat Procyk can be reached at kat@publicsource.org.

PublicSource community correspondent Jourdan Hicks contributed to this report. She can be reached at jourdan@publicsource.org.

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