Mr. Rogers’ widow, Joanne, offered support to her late husband’s Squirrel Hill neighbourhood, following last week’s deadly assault on attendees of the Tree of Life synagogue, in Pittsburgh, Penn.
Rogers attended the first Shabbat services to be held in the city, since the mass shooting last Saturday. She addressed the group, gathered at the Rodel Shalom Congregation, with words of love. “I want to tell you how wonderful you are,” she said. “How beautiful you are. I love you.”
Television icon Fred Rogers, known for his kind heart and actions, was married to Joanne for 50 years. She struggled with coming to grips with the shooting, and the effects of its aftermath. “It’s been confusing for me. I’ve been frightened,” she said. “I have had trouble dealing with the fact that this happened, I don’t want to give credit to the fact that it happened.”
Rogers’ address at the service was welcomed with warmth for the late Mr. Rogers, including when Rabbi Aaron Bisno put a sweater on, as a nod to the tradition of the opening to his TV show, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Joanne’s support of the community, and representation of the love and acceptance given to them by Fred, was very much appreciated by the residents. “This is literally Mr. Rogers’ neighbourhood,” they would say.
Rogers’ visit came exactly one week after the attack, which left 11 people dead.