Oakland County music writer reveals close ties to Pittsburgh synagogue following shooting

Posted at 9:54 PM, Oct 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-29 22:44:08-04

Multiple vigils were held in metro Detroit to pay respects to the lives lost in Pittsburgh, and to begin the process of healing. 

Adat Shalom tonight celebrated its 75th anniversary. The rabbi started off by saying. "I had a very different speech planned" before paying tribute to the lives lost Saturday in Pittsburgh. 

For Gary Graff, the terror of that day unfolded at his childhood place of worship. Some of the lives lost were family friends.

The names of lives cut down at The Giving Tree Synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill were read alound, one by one at Adat Shalom in Farmington Hills Monday evening. 

Those names were also called off during the candle light vigil in Detroit's Capitol Park.

Gary Graff was at Adat when he first heard the news of the attack. 

"People had started to hear about it so I went out to my car… not thinking it would be Tree of Life," Graff said. 

Growing up in Squirrel Hill, Graff, who is a music writer for the Oakland Press, knows the usual peaceful place well. His bar mitzvah was at Tree of Life. 

"As you do when you’re a kid, you get to know all the good hiding places," Graff said. "And just thinking about those, and then reading about people who hid in those places is... you know." 

There were few degress of separation in the tight knit community. 

Danny Stein, 71, was the son of my Graff's dad's best army army buddy. 

"He was still living in the house that I helped him move into when I was 16 years old," Graff said. 

He added, "You get a sense from the people I’ve talked to, of oneness. I mean...  you know it's a city that would pull itself together for a bad football team for decades before the Stealers became the Steelers. So you can only imagine what it’s like there now."