Tem­ple vigil unites com­mu­nity

Dorchester Star - - NEWS - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@ches­pub.com

EAS­TON — More than 500 peo­ple at­tended the Tem­ple B’nai Is­rael vigil Thurs­day, Nov. 1, which hon­ored vic­tims of the shoot­ing at the Tree of Life Jewish con­gre­ga­tion in Pitts­burgh. The vigil also hon­ored the Jef­fer­son­town two, vic­tims in an­other shoot­ing ear­lier this week.

The stand­ing-room-only crowd came to­gether in song and in sup­port of one an­other dur­ing the vigil, as an as­sort­ment of clergy also gave bless­ings and of­fered prayers through­out the ser­vice.

Cler­gy­men and women from a mul­ti­tude of faiths at­tended the vigil, in­clud­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Mus­lim, Chris­tian and African Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties.

Rabbi Peter Hy­man led the group through­out the night, ex­tend­ing prayers to the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies, along with the fam­i­lies of first re­spon­ders and oth­ers wounded in the at­tack.

“May we, as a com­mu­nity, model unity in the midst of our re­mark­able di­ver­sity,” Hy­man said. “May we model and em­brace in­clu­sion, com­pas­sion and love . ... These sense­less acts of vi­o­lence, ha­tred and big­otry are yet an­other re­minder of how much work still lies ahead of us.”

Hy­man said a new day is dawn­ing in the ef­forts of peace and com­pas­sion through­out the na­tion, ev­i­denced by the out­pour­ing of sup­port he has re­ceived not only from the lo­cal com­mu­nity, but from com­mu­ni­ties around the world.

Hy­man said many mem­bers of con­gre­ga­tions of vary­ing faiths had out­stretched their arms to the Jewish com­mu­nity in Ea­son since the Pitts­burgh at­tack.

“I’ve re­ceived calls from Ger­many, Eng­land and Saudi Ara­bia. I’ve re­ceived calls from Cal­i­for­nia, Con­necti­cut, Pitts­burgh and Texas. Most of the flow­ers ... were from peo­ple in this com­mu­nity who felt con­nected,” Hy­man said. “That’s what makes us the com­mu­nity we are.”

Hy­man quoted Dr. Mar­tin Luther King Jr., who said he re­fused to ac­cept the view that man is bound by racism. He said the com­mu­nity is liv­ing in the mo­ment of ac­cep­tance and peace.

“I would sub­mit to you that it is a real­ity. We have work to do, there’s no ques­tion, but it is a real­ity,” Hy­man said. “Per­son af­ter per­son, child af­ter child, the cards and the let­ters are out there.”

Hy­man said it was im­por­tant to take note of the to­geth­er­ness of the com­mu­nity in mo­ments of tragedy be­cause un­doubtably, there will be more mo­ments of mourn­ing in the fu­ture.

“Truth of the mat­ter is, un­for­tu­nately, the tem­plate to this ser­vice is in my com­puter. I didn’t have to cre­ate it; we’ve been do­ing this far too long,” Hy­man said. “What the truth of the mat­ter is, the phone calls, the flow­ers, the vis­its, the cards, point to the pos­si­bil­ity and the real­ity of a new day.”

Af­ter Psalms were sung and prayers given for vic­tims, 13 can­dles were lit for the 11 vic­tims of the Tree of Life con­gre­ga­tion, along with two for the vic­tims of the Jef­fer­son­town shoot­ing.

Hy­man said he was greatly ap­pre­cia­tive of the sup­port from all faiths and from all com­mu­nity mem­bers. He blessed the group for at­tend­ing the vigil.

“Your pres­ence here makes a state­ment that tran­scends the hor­rific, that tran­scends the in­san­ity, that brings us to­gether,” Hy­man said. “For those whose per­cep­tion of the world is such that it doesn’t see the unity in our di­ver­sity — it’s time for the world to grow up.”

PHOTO BY JACK RODGERS

Mem­bers of the clergy from as­sorted faiths join to­gether in light­ing the me­mo­rial can­dles dur­ing the Tem­ple B’nai vigil Thurs­day, Nov. 1

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