From Pittsburgh to NZ: almost $1m raised for shooting victims
Joanna MacKenzie, Reporter
A Jewish organisation in the American city of Pittsburgh has raised almost $1 million for the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings.
The community in Pittsburgh was still recovering from a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, in which 11 people died last October.
Following that attack, the local Muslim community raised money to support the victims.
The city's Jewish Federation president Jeff Finkelstein said members of the synagogue wanted to return the gesture for the victims of the Christchurch shootings.
As word spread about the fund, money started pouring in from beyond Pittsburgh.
"Our intention really was to try to show love back to our Muslim community in Pittsburgh who after the shooting here raised money and did so much to show their support of us.
"We never expected to become this really big national initiative," he said.
Coverage on CNN and the New York Times had helped to boost the campaign to raise money.
"There were over 4500 unique donors, over US$660,000 (NZ$981,000) and the donations came from all 50 states.
"And at least 10 countries around the world," Mr Finkelstein said.
The Christchurch shootings had deeply affected many in the Pittsburgh Jewish community because the tragedy brought back memories from the attack last October.
But Mr Finkelstein said being able to stand in solidarity, raise money and help another group who were suffering, had had a healing effect.
The donations will be sent to the New Zealand Jewish Council which will transfer the money to the Christchurch Foundation.