Community comes together to remember synagogue victims
Local religious leaders, village and state officials, and members of the Jewish community came together last week to honor the 11 victims who were savagely murdered at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh PA by a deranged and heartless anti-Semite who was armed with an AR15 assault rifle.
“We stand in awe, in courage and dedication,” said Rabbi Anchelle Perl outside the steps of the Congregation Beth Sholom Chabad of Mineola. “Today we all stand together against Antisemitism. Our hearts are shattered for the horrific attack on our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh and we mourn the 11 holy souls who were so cruelly torn from our midst. We pray to God to provide strength and comfort to their shocked and grieving families.”
On a table beside the podium were 11 white candles, which were lighted in honor of each victim, while chalk drawings on the sidewalk gave inspirational messages to passersby.
Calling it an unimaginable attack, Rabbi Perl said the country must work together to eradicate such evil by holding a zero tolerance policy for any vile displays of Antisemitism.
“Those who were celebrating Shabbat were killed for no reason other than the fact that they were Jewish,” said Perl. “The killer’s bullets were aimed at us all. What is the remedy of such senseless hatred?”
Village of Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss also spoke at the vigil saying that the community stands together as a united front.
“We have to stand united together and seek out ways to identify people who might do this from actually doing it,” said Strauss, who was joined by members of the village board. “We need to reach out to our state and federal officials and find out ways that they can help us fund for mental health issues and concerns. We need to get rid of the intolerance.”
Following the same sentiments of those who spoke throughout the vigil, New York State Senator Elaine Phillips sternly told onlookers that hatred and Antisemitism has no place in this country.
“It’s us,” said Phillips. “It’s members of the community and members of different religious faiths who are going to come together and we’re going to make sure that hate never supersedes love and kindness.”
Reverend Malcolm J. Burns of Corpus Christi Church offered prayers to the family of those who died in Pittsburgh.
“We realize that we as a community should come together in the oneness that we are all in at this very moment,” said Burns. “Jews, Christians, Muslims and people of all different faiths should come together in that oneness of God—one God who watches over all of his children.”
Assemblyman Ed Ra reminded the crowd that religious freedom is one of the values on which this country was founded on.
“When somebody attacks somebody based on their beliefs, they’re attacking all of us,” said Ra.
The Mineola American remembers the victims: Irving Younger, Melvin Wax, Rose Mallinger, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Jerry Rabinowitz, Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Daniel Stein, Cecil Rosenthal and David Rosenthal.