10.27 Healing Partnership secures state funding
Sunset on the horizonResiliency Center will end mission in five years

10.27 Healing Partnership secures state funding

“This space is no stranger to evolving with community need,” JCC President and CEO Jason Kunzman said.

Maggie Feinstein (left), State Rep. Dan Frankel,  steering committee members Andrea Wedner and Carol Black and JCC President and CEO Jason Kunzman. (Photo by David Rullo)
Maggie Feinstein (left), State Rep. Dan Frankel, steering committee members Andrea Wedner and Carol Black and JCC President and CEO Jason Kunzman. (Photo by David Rullo)

As the 10.27 Healing Partnership begins to think about sunsetting it’s mission, it is actively pursuing funding for the next five years.

The 10.27 Healing Partnership . And, after that, the organization will sunset its mission.

Founded to help address the ongoing mental health issues and trauma related to the Oct. 27, 2018, Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, the resiliency center recently secured $350,000 in state funding through the efforts of state Sen. Jay Costa and state Rep. Dan Frankel.

Maggie Feinstein, executive director of the 10.27 Healing Partnership, said the organization’s steering committee spent a lot of time pondering the question of what to do when its initial funding ended.

“Is it something we keep open indefinitely or is it something that we continue for a finite amount of time? We, as a steering committee, took that question very seriously,” Feinstein said, “because the realization is that there is going to be more triggers, that there’s other things going on, but also that there a time for moving on.”

And while the center might be closing its doors in 2029, Feinstein said the work will go on, continuing at different Jewish institutions, possibly including the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.

Steering committee member and shooting survivor Carol Black said that it felt right to eventually sunset the center, but that couldn’t happen immediately.

“There was still too much of a need for the services this organization provides,” Black said. “So, we decided to extend it for another five years and do whatever it takes to get the appropriate funding to offer the services that the community has relied on.”

Andrea Wedner, a steering committee member and shooting survivor, said she was in awe of the people who served with her and Black.

“They all have jobs, but they show up and they do the work and it’s good work,” Wedner said. “I’m so grateful to all of them, and I’m grateful to know them and to see how this all gets put together behind the scenes. People see the end result, and it’s very gratifying.”

At the time of the decision to keep the center open for five more years, Feinstein said, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter’s trial was just beginning, and the rising tide of antisemitism following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack still hadn’t occurred.

She emphasized the mission of the center — “that we are better together, that we have to have a space where we can gather and that we have to use the experience of 10/27 to help other people share what we learned from it” — and the “vicarious resilience, as well as the vicarious trauma” people experienced after the synagogue shooting.

That resilience, Feinstein noted, comes from the stories of “incredible people” in their healing, and stories of allyship and solidarity shown by the community’s civic and spiritual leaders.

Located at the JCC in Squirrel Hill, the 10.27 Healing Partnership is in a space that has served as an art studio, hosted a boys’ Hebrew high school and even operated as the FBI family assistance center in the weeks immediately following the synagogue shooting.

“This space is no stranger to evolving with community need,” JCC President and CEO Jason Kunzman said, while noting the view from the Partnership’s window — flowers in bloom and a church that served as the spiritual home of Fred Rogers or, as most know him, Mister Rogers. The view was important five years ago during the spring, when Kunzman and Feinstein were deciding on which space the organization would call home.

“Things were in bloom, much the same way that they are today,” he recalled. “It really spoke to, I think, what Maggie and I both hoped would represent the journey of healing and building resilience.”

The JCC, Kunzman said, was “honored and humbled” to be able to play a role in the aftermath of the attack. It was through the efforts of the steering committee, and other engaged community members, that the decision to locate the Pittsburgh resiliency center at the JCC was made, he added.

Frankel, who represents the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, said he couldn’t imagine a more appropriate home for the 10.27 Healing Partnership than the JCC.

“As you know, I’m here most mornings,” he said. “The diversity you see at the JCC, the different languages spoken and the different races that are here is just the kind of modeling of what a community ought to be at its best. To have the 10.27 located here is just a perfect blend of what community is about.”

The state representative said that after 26 years in public office, he knows how to get some things done and that it wasn’t too difficult to get funding for the organization.

“We try and address all kinds of community needs. We have the ability to identify resources to do that,” he said. “It’s a privilege for us to do that and it’s a great use of taxpayer dollars.”

Costa too, is impressed with the work of the center, saying that it is responsible for healing some of the horrible wounds and pain that people have dealt with, and that it serves as an outlet for people to talk about their feelings and what occurred at the Tree of Life building in 2018.

The legacy of the 10.27 Healing Partnership, Costa said, “is that they stepped forward in a really critical time, in terms of our community, and the need to be able to communicate with other folks and to have an ear for people to be able to work with and talk with, as they continue to grieve through this process. They were very timely and very relevant and very helpful to assist people to heal.” PJC

David Rullo can be reached at drullo@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

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