MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 last week has prompted many people across the country to come together in solidarity and support for the Jewish community.
Members of Temple Israel in Minneapolis are no exception, saying they, too, stand united with everyone affected by the tragedy in Pittsburgh.
“We as a Jewish community want to show that we’re not going to stop being Jewish, we’re not going to stop celebrating Shabbat, we’re not going to be hindered,” Temple Israel Senior Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman said. “Even in the face of violence, we are going to open our doors even wider.”
Rabbi Zimmerman is preparing for a Shabbat that will highlight a movement among people of all faiths.
“I believe interfaith relationships, interfaith dialogue is the antidote to religious violence,” Rabbi Zimmerman said.
Rabbi Zimmerman and friend Pastor Danny Givens believe coming together to worship is the biggest act of defiance against what happened inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“We will have the Shabbat service that we have every week,” Rabbi Zimmerman said. “We really want to show people what it means to pray and to worship as Jews — the very thing the people in Pittsburgh were doing.”
“An attack on a house of worship is an attack on all houses of worship,” Pastor Givens added.
Pastor Givens says unity over division is essential for communities to fight back against hate.
“We had a situation similar at Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina where a supremacist came in and invaded a house or worship that was predominately African American,” Pastor Givens said. “I can remember being in solidarity with our Jewish siblings during that time. I’m a firm believer that ain’t nobody coming for us but us, so we have to show up in this time to be present.”
The community was present after the tragedy in Pittsburgh.
More than 2,000 filled Temple Israel during a vigil for the fallen, and they expect more visitors this Shabbat.
“We will continue to occupy this intersection of justice and show up for our communities during times like this,” Pastor Givens said.
Rabbi Zimmerman hopes all people of faith practice the ministry of being present for one another.
Friday at sundown and Saturday before sunrise, Shabbat services here at Temple Israel and around the country will be filled with community, food and lots of singing.