MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In times of great sorrow, people often turn to a higher power for answers and to each other for support.
On Sunday, those were two of the reasons why Temple Israel was filled with a standing-room-only crowd, estimated around 2,000 strong, grieving the loss of 11 Jewish people killed in a place of worship not unlike this one.
“Though our prayers signaled it was Shabbat, the bullets of a white supremacist stole its shalom, its peace,” Rabbi Aaron Weininger said to the packed sanctuary.
A day earlier, a gunman committed a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Eleven people were killed and several more hurt.
Across the Twin Cities Sunday, services were held at Jewish places of worship to show solidarity, including the Hillel at the University of Minnesota.
Back at Temple Israel, Minneapolis police officers stood guard while staff searched people at the entrance, inspecting bags and having people open their coats to show their waistbands.
Inside, rabbis used prayer and sermons to make sense of the tragedy in Pittsburgh, even joined by religious leaders of different faiths.
“I see all kinds of people here. They’re not Jewish, which I think marvelous,” said Mary Dworsky as she paused to collect herself. “It’s very emotional.”
Jeff Gram, a Presbyterian, brought his family.
“It was an honor to be present with (the Jewish community) as we all search answers of why tragedies like these continue to happen,” he said.
The names of each victim from the Pittsburgh shooting were read aloud, piercing reminders of what hate can lead people to do. But it was love and compassion that led people to Temple Israel Sunday afternoon.
“It reminds me that in the face of crisis we can come together and mobilize in community and when we’re there for one another, we can create the kind of world that right now is only imaginable,” Rabbi Weininger said.
If you’d like to help the families of the victims in Pittsburgh, GoFundMe has created a certified charity campaign.