SPRING GARDEN (WTXF) - Communities came together Sunday night across the nation and in the Delaware Valley to remember the lives lost in Pittsburgh and to send a message of love, refusing to let hatred and bigotry stand.
Coming together to mourn and also show strength and solidarity against violence and anti-Semitism, it was a show of force and security by law enforcement outside, while inside Congregation of Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia’s Spring Garden section, it was standing room only with hundreds of people from all faiths gathering to honor the 11 victims of the massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“Being a Jewish woman, I just feel it’s important to stand up against hate,” Anna Worrell said.
“We have very good friends here. We’re very close with so many people. We’re part of interfaith for so many years. I’m just here to show my support,” said Jasbir Arora.
It was part religious service, part town hall, part airing of communal grief with politicians, police and interfaith clergy all present.
“Every time a life is lost, not matter how far away it is from us, no matter how far it feels from our own lives and personal experience, it’s a horrible tragedy and we can’t let ourselves be numb,” Rabbi Deborah Glanzberg-Krainin stated.
In South Jersey, at Congregation Beth El in Voorhees, again an overflow with more community members than seats. Andy Smith, a Pittsburgh transplant whose mother and siblings were at services in the same neighborhood as Tree of Life, when gunman Robert Gregory Bowers opened fire.
“I have moments where I’m pretty sad. I have moments where I’m angry and then I think of the community and the neighborhood where I grew up and I know it’s resilient,” Smith explained.
Smith said despite being far from home and loved ones, he’s found solace in the comfort and support of the strangers who came out to stand for love and against violence and hate.
“When the chips are down, there are people that are supportive. And, that we’re all connected in some way. It makes the healing a little bit easier,” Smith went on.