Tragedy brings solidarity to Jewish community

Community+members+gather+for+a+ceremony+at+Temple+Israel+in+Minneapolis+to+commemorate+the+victims+of+the+Pittsburgh+shooting+Oct.+28.+The+synagogue+was+filled+beyond+capacity+with+people+who+came+together+to+honor+those+who+lost+their+lives+due+to+anti-Semitism.
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Tragedy brings solidarity to Jewish community

Community members gather for a ceremony at Temple Israel in Minneapolis to commemorate the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting Oct. 28. The synagogue was filled beyond capacity with people who came together to honor those who lost their lives due to anti-Semitism.

Community members gather for a ceremony at Temple Israel in Minneapolis to commemorate the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting Oct. 28. The synagogue was filled beyond capacity with people who came together to honor those who lost their lives due to anti-Semitism.

Emily Ziessman

Community members gather for a ceremony at Temple Israel in Minneapolis to commemorate the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting Oct. 28. The synagogue was filled beyond capacity with people who came together to honor those who lost their lives due to anti-Semitism.

Emily Ziessman

Emily Ziessman

Community members gather for a ceremony at Temple Israel in Minneapolis to commemorate the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting Oct. 28. The synagogue was filled beyond capacity with people who came together to honor those who lost their lives due to anti-Semitism.

By Talia Lissauer, St. Louis Park High School

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I never realized the extent of anti-semitism until I saw the news report of a shooting at a synagogue.

At Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, a Jewish congregation was practicing their religion when a gunman opened fire while yelling anti-Semitic slurs using an AR-15 killed 11 innocent people and wounded several police officers, according to Star Tribune.

According to the U.S. Constitution, this country is supposed to be a place where people can practice any religion safely without fear.

Walking into Temple Israel for an event honoring those lost in the shooting, a wave of fear washed over me.

I didn’t feel as safe as I always did walking into synagogue.

If we give in and let the fear keep us from continuing to live out our truth, we let the evil win. After this shooting, the Jewish community needs to come together. We need to support each other no matter where we live.

Temple Israel in Minneapolis invited congregants and non-congregants alike to a service to honor those lost in the Pittsburgh shooting.

The service had an unbelievable turnout. There was a line down the block of Jews and non Jews, all with the common interest of mourning those lost and creating change. When I reached the front of the line, the service had been postponed. They needed to set up another room for people to observe the service.

The service was motivational. There was a point when the rabbi invited all clergy in the room, no matter what religion, to go up on the platform and recite a prayer.

I watched as more than 20 clergy put their differences aside and led us in a prayer of healing.

Witnessing this made my heart smile.   

A horrible event happened in our community, but if we grow in spite of the loss, the shooter loses. If we accept shootings like this as normal, then it will continue to happen.

This doesn’t only apply to Jews, it applies to everyone. In a situation where a group of people are attacked, you need to stay strong and fight the threat. No matter if it is the LGBTQ community or the Black Lives matter community, we all have to support each other without regard to skin color, religion or any other difference. The first thing we are is human and we need to support each other.

This story was originally published on The Echo on October 31, 2018.