Lesson Plan

Deadly Shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue

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GRADE LEVEL: High School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Reading, Speaking and Listening, Language

On the morning of October 27, at Sabbath services—the holy day of the week for the Jewish community—Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA and yelled “All Jews must die,” then opened fire upon the congregants. He was armed with an assault rifle and several handguns and killed eleven congregants and wounded six others, four of whom are police officers. When surrendering to law enforcement, Bowers told an officer that he “wanted all Jews to die” and that Jews “were committing genocide against his people.” This shooting is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the U.S. 

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to analyze this incident in the context of the shooter’s background and history of antisemitism, as well as the nationwide rise of antisemitic incidents over the last year. In this lesson, students will learn more about the incident, understand and consider the larger context of antisemitism in the U.S., explore how the escalation of hate operates and how allyship can make a difference.