For days he was known only as “The Jewish Nurse,” the person whose compassion captivated the world in the days after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh left 11 Jewish people dead.

He was the nurse who cared for Robert Bowers, the accused gunman, as Bowers reportedly yelled, “Death to all Jews,” as he was wheeled into the emergency room at the Allegheny General Hospital last month.

Now The Jewish Nurse is no longer nameless. He is Ari Mahler, who came forward for the first time last weekend to tell the story of Oct. 27 in a powerful social media post.

The Facebook post, which had been shared more than 133,000 times as of early Monday, began: “I am The Jewish Nurse.” From there, it chronicled how Mahler found empathy for the suspected perpetrator of the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history at a time when the world fixated on his hatred.


“Love. That’s why I did it,” Mahler wrote in the Facebook post. “Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope. It demonstrates humanity. It reaffirms why we’re all here … I could care less what Robert Bowers thinks, but you, the person reading this, love is the only message I wish to instill in you.”

A spokesman for Allegheny General Hospital confirmed the authenticity of Mahler’s claim.

Mahler’s story first emerged when Allegheny General Hospital President Jeffrey Cohen, who is also Jewish and a member of Tree of Life synagogue, told multiple news outlets that a Jewish nurse and Jewish doctor were among the first to treat the suspected gunman. The 46-year-old Bowers, who has pleaded not guilty to 44 charges, including hate crimes, had suffered multiple gunshot wounds during a shootout with police.


Before Bowers arrived, Mahler had panicked: He worried his parents might be among the victims, he said. But later, as Bowers was wheeled into the emergency room, “I didn’t see evil when I looked into Bowers’s eyes,” Mahler wrote. “I saw something else.”

“I can tell you that as his nurse, or anyone’s nurse, my care is given through kindness,” he said, “my actions are measured with empathy, and regardless of the person you may be when you’re not in my care, each breath you take is more beautiful than the last when you’re lying on my stretcher.”

Mahler, the son of a rabbi, said in his post that the “fact that this shooting took place doesn’t shock me.” He cited statistics about hate crimes targeting Jewish people, saying “I don’t know why people hate us so much, but the underbelly of anti-Semitism seems to be thriving.” The FBI found in 2016 that Jews were victims of 54 percent of all anti-religious hate crimes.