Friday, 18 Jan 2019

"We will rebuild": The Pittsburgh community holds a wake of mourning – and unifies

People gather Sunday at Pittsburgh, the memorial to soldiers and sailors, on the occasion of a vigil for victims of mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. (Adam Schultz / EPA-EFE / REX) PITTSBURGH – The shooting started just minutes after Rabbi Jeffrey Myers started the 9:45 service. There were 11 members with him in the sanctuary. He rushed to help get some people out of the front row of the room. "But alas, I had eight people in the back," he said. He could not save them all. Seven of his faithful died on Saturday morning, the deadliest attack against the Jews in the history of the nation. "Seven of my faithful were slaughtered in my sanctuary," said Myers to the hundreds of grieving people gathered during a Sunday vigil in Pittsburgh. "My holy place was defiled." During a vigil that lasted about two hours, Pittsburgh's political and religious leaders came together to strengthen the bonds that unite the community. They met with residents of the museum and museum of soldiers and sailors the day after the entrance of an armed man in the synagogue of the Tree of Life and opened fire on faithful observing the Sabbath, leaving 11 dead and 6 wounded. [The lives lost in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting] As the icy rains that began shortly before the memorial, the mourners first arrived in a torrent, then in a torrent, occupying all the seats of the orchestra and balcony, occupying every inch of the room and flooding the hall. Many had to listen to the ceremony from the outside. Looking at the crowd from the scene, Rabbi Ron Simons noted that "love is so overwhelming that it really overflows". Members of the Tree of Life congregation were seated at the front, in a section cordoned off by a rope. As stated by Jeffrey Finkelstein, president of the United Jewish Federation, in his opening remarks, "we should not be forced to be." He thanked Pennsylvania's police and elected officials, including Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Governor Tom Wolf and Detective Robert P. Casey Jr. and Patrick J. Toomey for their support. Through anger and sorrow, the main message Myers and others have conveyed is healing and resolution. "We will rebuild," Myers promised. He talked about receiving messages from all over the world, from practitioners of all religions. "My cup is overflowing with love. That's how you will defeat hatred, "he said. Rabbi Cheryl Klein of Dor Hadash, another venerated congregation at Tree of Life, lamented the loss of his beloved deceased, Jerry Rabinowitz. "We will be afflicted for a long time at Dor Hadash. We will pray for those who cling to life, "she said, her voice breaking. "And with your support, your love and your friendship, we will continue to do the work of our people." Peduto, who was very visible during the crisis, took a firm stance on hate speech. "Antisemitism is not even a distant thought within the borders of this city," he said. "We will bring back the anti-Semitism and hatred of all people to the basement, on their computer and outside open discussions and dialogues around the city, state and country He said, standing ovation. Robert Bowers, the accused gunman, had written many online cops against the Jews before moving to the act on Saturday. "I just want to kill Jews," he told police following his capture, according to a federal criminal complaint. [As worship began, a gunman brought evil to a Pittsburgh sanctuary] Red Cross volunteers distributed packages of tissues and volunteers from the Allegheny region, in crisis, mobilized to help those who were suffering grief. Bryce Tallon, a preschool teacher at one of the city's religious schools, struggled with the news and found comfort during the night vigil. "It's amazing how full it is, how many people are outside. I find a lot of comfort in the community, "she said. "It was always a difficult time to be Jewish. But it was edifying. For other Pittsburgh residents, just being present was not enough. This was the case of 34-year-old Gabriel Goldman, who had attended Virginia Tech during his famed shootings in 2007. The Tree of Life massacre, "I immediately went back to eleven years," was -he declares. "At the time, I did not really know what to do." But this time, he knew it. On Sunday morning, he drove to Target and took as much candy and coffee as possible to bring to the vigil. He set up a table set by a colleague from Virginia Tech and offered comfort in the form of Kit Kats and cuddles, which many participants readily accepted. "It's too close to home, too many times," he said. .

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