Week af­ter syn­a­gogue at­tack, ser­vice seeks healing

San Francisco Chronicle - Late Edition (Sunday) - - NATION - By Ramesh San­tanam CAM­PAIGN 2018

PITTS­BURGH — Par­ents clutched their chil­dren, cou­ples leaned on each other, and by­standers wept as about 100 peo­ple gath­ered in a steady driz­zle out­side the des­e­crated Tree of Life syn­a­gogue for what a for­mer rabbi called a healing ser­vice one week af­ter the worst at­tack tar­get­ing Jews in U.S. his­tory. Rabbi Chuck Di­a­mond led a ser­vice of prayers, songs and poetry and rem­i­nisced about some of the wor­shipers killed, as Show Up For Shab­bat ser­vices honor­ing the 11 dead and six wounded were held at syn­a­gogues across the United States.

“I al­most ex­pected Ce­cil to greet me this morn­ing,” Di­a­mond said of Ce­cil Rosen­thal, 59, killed along with his brother, David, 54, in the Oct. 27 shoot­ing at Tree of Life syn­a­gogue in the city’s Squir­rel Hill neigh­bor­hood.

Di­a­mond called the vic­tims “an­gels given to us, full of love and life.” He said he took great com­fort in see­ing peo­ple of all faiths come to­gether since the shoot­ing.

“It’s im­por­tant to come and take care of your com­mu­nity when some­thing like this hap­pens,” said An­drew Al­li­son, who at­tended Satur­day’s ser­vice.

The sus­pect, Robert Bow­ers, 46, pleaded not guilty Thurs­day to charges in­clud­ing mur­der.

Be­fore com­ing to the ser­vice, Steve Ir­win and a friend stopped by a Squir­rel Hill cof­fee shop. “When we went to pay, we were told all the cof­fee was paid for by the Sandy Hook com­mu­nity,” re­fer­ring to New­town, Conn., where a gun­man killed 26 peo­ple at Sandy Hook El­e­men­tary School in 2012.

“It brought tears to my eyes,” Ir­win said. “It shows how in­cum­bent it is upon us to pay it for­ward to the next com­mu­nity this hap­pens, which we hope never hap­pens, but we know it will hap­pen.”

Ramesh San­tanam is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

John Raoux / As­so­ci­ated Press

David Hogg (cen­ter), who sur­vived the school shoot­ing in Parkland, Fla., joins a Vote for Our Lives rally Wed­nes­day in Or­lando.

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