Synagogues show solidarity
First Shabbat service held since Pittsburgh shooting
With the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh still fresh in many minds, South Florida's Jewish community joined Shabbat services across the country to remember the 11 people killed.
Rabbi Michael Gold spent six years at a synagogue in suburban Pittsburgh before coming to Temple Beth Torah Sha'aray Tzedek in Tamarac, so it hit a little closer to home for him.
“We Jews don’t emphasize death, we emphasize life,” he said during his sermon Saturday morning, after reading the names of the dead and injured, and observing a moment of silence.
“And yet, every now and again someone appears out of the darkness who believes in death rather than life,” he said.
That’s part of the reason two Broward Sheriff ’s deputies and a private security guard were outside, said the synagogue’s security chairwoman, Sherry Klawsky.
“We have to do the best we can in this new environment that we’re living in, and it is not easy at all,” she said. “You try to mitigate the risk and be aware of your surroundings, and try to be as safe as possible.”
So groups including the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federations of North America organized #ShowUpForShabbat and Solidarity Shabbat for a show of unity, and many denominations answered that call.
“We have to mourn the victims, and we should do that with our friends and allies in the Jewish community and beyond,” said Brian Siegal, director of the AJC in Miami and Broward.
Hundreds showed up in Plantation on Friday night for a candlelight ceremony at the Ramat Shalom synagogue and a service at Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El.
Coral Springs resident Melanie Farber doesn’t usually attend Shabbat on Saturday morning but she took to social media to invite people to be part of the movement.
“I did invite other friends on Facebook to join me, who don’t have synagogues,” she said. “To be part of it, to get us together, to show unity.” Temple Beth Torah Sha’aray Tzedek in Tamarac took part in the #ShowUpForShabbat and Solidarity Shabbat to remember those killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Art Langer, also of Coral Springs, said he sees signs of hope.
“I think the general population is responding positively,” he said. “I wish our leaders would respond a little more appropriately.”
Eleven people were shot dead and six others were wounded, including four police officers, during a prayer service siege at the Tree of Life synagogue Oct. 27. Police in Pittsburgh arrested and charged Robert Bowers.
Since the mass shooting, memorial services and vigils
have been held across the country including the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, B'nai Aviv of Weston, Chabad of Weston Center for Jewish Life, Temple Judea in Coral Gables, Temple Shaarei Shalom in Boynton Beach, Temple Beth Am in Jupiter, B'nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor in Boynton Beach and other local Jewish institutions.