Mourn­ing Pitts­burgh Out­side the Bub­ble “The ‘R*dmen’ Name is Not the End” Small At­ten­dance, Big Mo­tions

Vig­ils for Pitts­burgh Shoot­ing Held Across Mon­treal

The McGill Daily - - Contents - Athina Khalid The Mcgill Daily

On Oc­to­ber 27, a man opened fire at The Tree of Life Syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh, Penn­syl­va­nia. The shooter killed 11 peo­ple and in­jured six. The at­tack took place while mem­bers of the syn­a­gogue were pray­ing. The sus­pect al­legedly yelled “all Jews must die” be­fore open­ing fire, and had var­i­ous anti-semitic posts on his so­cial me­dia. The shoot­ing is be­ing la­beled as an anti-semitic hate crime.

On Oc­to­ber 28, de­spite the sleet, about two hun­dred peo­ple gath­ered in front of Mon­treal’s Holo­caust Mu­seum to com­mem­o­rate the lives of those killed in the Pitts­burg syn­a­gogue shoot­ing. The vigil was or­ga­nized by In­de­pen­dent Jewish Voices (IJV) Mon­treal, IJV Mcgill, am Mcgill, and If Not Now Mcgill.

Speak­ers, in­clud­ing Niall Ri­cardo, Sam Hersh, Hani Abram­son, and Rachel Kron­ick reaf­firmed their Jewish iden­tity and em­pha­sized anti- Semitism as part of broader racist vi­o­lence. Niall Ri­cardo told The Mcgill Daily that “anti- Semitism doesn’t ex­ist in a void; it’s tied to all kinds of racism and dis­crim­i­na­tion linked to the global rise of fas­cism.” Samer Ma­j­zoub, the Pres­i­dent of the Cana­dian Mus­lim Fo­rum, and Sha­heen Ju­naid, the Pres­i­dent of the Cana­dian Coun­cil of Mus­lim Women, spoke as well. Both of­fered their sym­pa­thies and em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of sol­i­dar­ity in the face of vi­o­lence and racism.

Two other vig­ils have been or­ga­nized in Mon­treal since then. One, or­ga­nized by Fed­er­a­tion CJA and Cija-que­bec, took place Mon­day at 7:30pm at the Beth Is­rael Beth Aaron Con­gre­ga­tion. The Con­gre­ga­tion was at its max­i­mum ca­pac­ity; es­ti­mates range be­tween sev­eral hun­dred and over a thou­sand at­ten­dees. Both David Ouel­lette, Di­rec­tor of Re­search and Pub­lic Af­fairs at Cija-que­bec, and Lesli Green, Chief Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fi­cer of Fed­er­a­tion CJA, em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of this vigil for Mon­treal’s Jewish com­mu­nity.

An­other vigil, or­ga­nized by Mcgill, Con­cor­dia, and Udem or­ga­ni­za­tions such as Is­rael on Cam­pus at Mcgill, IJV Mcgill, Mcgill Jewish Stud­ies Stu­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion, Ghetto Shul, CIJA- Québec, Hil­lel Mon­treal, and oth­ers, took place at Con­cor­dia and Mcgill at 5:00p.m. on Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 30. The Y in­ter­sec­tion was full; ap­prox­i­mately three hun­dred peo­ple at­tended. Ja­z­lyn Hell­man, Pres­i­dent of Am Mcgill, told The Mcgill Daily that this vigil was im­por­tant for cam­pus Jewish com­mu­ni­ties to come and grieve to­gether, both at Mcgill and Con­cor­dia.

Niall Ri­cardo, of IJV Mon­treal, told The Mcgill Daily that var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions such as Fed­er­a­tion CJA and Cen­tre for Is­rael and Jewish Af­fairs (CIJA) were in­vited to the vigil on Sun­day, but they de­clined. Ri­cardo im­plied that this had to do with the dif­fer­ing po­si­tions of the or­ga­ni­za­tions in terms of Is­rael: one of IJV’S key tenets is Pales­tinian sol­i­dar­ity, which is not an opin­ion shared by Fed­er­a­tion CJA and CIJA. Ouel­lette, of CIJA- Que­bec, said that the Sun­day vigil was an­nounced very shortly af­ter the shoot­ing, and that his or­ga­ni­za­tion was busy pre­par­ing for Mon­day’s vigil. Hell­man, of Am Mcgill, said that be­cause the shoot­ing hap­pened on Shab­bat, dur­ing which some Jews do not work or use elec­tric­ity, cer­tain peo­ple were not aware of the vigil or could not at­tend.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from all three vig­ils em­pha­sized that these events brought com­mu­ni­ties to­gether. More specif­i­cally, it brought the Jewish com­mu­nity to­gether in the face of ris­ing anti-semitism.

Athina Khalid | The Mcgill Daily

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