Jewish communities across Canada hold vigils to remember Pittsburgh shooting victims


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Jewish communities and residents throughout Canada gathered collectively over the weekend to commemorate the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue capturing and condemn what one rabbi described as “an outrageous act of evil.”

Vigils and rallies had been organized in various Canadian cities, together with Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax and Vancouver.

Rabbi Reuben Poupko, who’s initially from Pittsburgh, mentioned no Jewish neighborhood has been left untouched by the capturing that left 11 folks lifeless and 6 injured.

READ MORE: Pittsburgh synagogue capturing victims included 97-year-old girl, couple of their 80s

Toronto will maintain a vigil to honour the victims at Mel Lastman Sq. Monday night, hosted by the UJA Federation of Higher Toronto.

A vigil set for Monday night at Montreal’s Beth Israel Beth Aaron synagogue can be an opportunity for neighborhood members to attract hope and energy from one another, he mentioned.

“All of us can relate to what occurred,” he mentioned in a cellphone interview.

“We go to synagogues that look identical to (Tree of Life) synagogue. Our ties and bonds of historical past and of solidarity and our values are very sturdy.”

WATCH: Vigils held for Pittsburgh synagogue capturing


Poupko mentioned he grew up in Pittsburgh’s “tight-knit” Jewish neighborhood, the place his father was a rabbi for 60 years.

He mentioned Jewish folks have at all times been targets of hate crimes each in Canada and elsewhere, and that the variety of these alleged crimes have been rising lately.

However he mentioned they’ve by no means skilled something like Saturday’s mass capturing, which the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, has mentioned it believes is the deadliest anti-Semitic assault in U.S. historical past.

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“Eleven folks murdered in a synagogue in an outrageous act of evil,” he mentioned. The suspected gunman, Robert Gregory Bowers, faces dozens of federal and state fees, together with hate crimes, and is due in court docket on Monday.

Poupko grew to become emotional as he spoke about 97-year-old Rose Mallinger, a Holocaust survivor who died within the capturing.

“To outlive the Holocaust and discover refuge in a free nation and lose your life doing what you’re speculated to do, going to synagogue on a Saturday morning … shouldn’t be a factor that’s simply understood,” he mentioned, his voice breaking.

WATCH: Members of Toronto’s Jewish neighborhood in shock following capturing at Pittsburgh synagogue

He mentioned his neighborhood is comforted by the assist of different religion teams and strange residents, who’ve come collectively to unanimously denounce the violence.

Poupko mentioned Montreal’s synagogues had been remaining open and the neighborhood would proceed to combat acts of hate in the one means they know the way.

“One of the best ways is to proceed to do what we do with higher depth,” he mentioned, “which is to steer lives of tolerance, to steer lives the place we perceive that finally the ability of fine is extra highly effective than evil, the place we proceed to strengthen the bonds between people and communities and hope the sunshine will block out the darkness.”

11 dead, 6 injured in shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh

Senior Rabbi Dan Moskovitz of Temple Shalom in Vancouver mentioned the neighborhood deliberate to carry a memorial Sunday afternoon on the metropolis’s Jewish Group Centre.

“It got here collectively out of a have to not really feel alone and remoted at a time once we really feel very susceptible as a neighborhood,” he mentioned.

“Remarkably, this man who tried to destroy and tear down our religion custom had simply the alternative impact.”

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Moskovitz added that the tragedy has introduced collectively not solely Jewish folks, however believers throughout non secular communities, in solidarity.

Sadly, most synagogues have emergency protocols in case of assaults and his Vancouver temple boosted safety measures after information broke of the assault, he mentioned.

When the shooter entered the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday, the Pittsburg rabbi would have been studying the identical scripture that Moskovitz learn to his Vancouver congregation, he mentioned. Jewish custom dictates that the identical Torah passages are learn on the identical weekends all over the world.

‘I’m just torn apart:’ Pittsburgh’s Jewish community in shock after 11 killed in synagogue shooting

“So we had been studying the identical story they had been studying – and strikingly, it was a narrative about welcoming the stranger. The story of Abraham and Sarah who rush out within the E-book of Genesis to welcome strangers into their midst to practise hospitality,” Moskovitz mentioned.

“That’s why the doorways of the synagogue are open, in order that anyone can are available, search shelter, search consolation and search peace.”

Whereas the incident has created worry, he mentioned he would encourage congregation members to concentrate on love and never hatred.

WATCH: Toronto Jewish neighborhood chief calls Pittsburgh capturing an assault on ‘complete Jewish folks’

In Ottawa, mourners deliberate to assemble in entrance of the Human Rights Monument late Sunday for what was described as a solidarity vigil in opposition to anti-Semitism and white supremacy.

The organizers mentioned in a press release that the occasion could be each an act of mourning and an indication in opposition to acts of racism and bigotry all over the world.

“As Jews, anti-racist activists and residents of Ottawa, we need to ship the message that hate crimes in opposition to Jews don’t exist in isolation from the violent rise of white supremacy across the globe,” co-organizers Genevieve Nevin and Darrah Teitel wrote.

One other demonstration happened in entrance of Montreal’s Holocaust Museum on Sunday afternoon, whereas an occasion was additionally anticipated to happen in Halifax.

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