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Cleveland’s Jewish Community Commemorates Lives Lost in Pittsburgh

Photo+by+Vivian+Li
Photo by Vivian Li

Photo by Vivian Li

Photo by Vivian Li

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The Mandel Jewish Community Center held a vigil on Monday, Oct. 29 for the victims of the mass shooting on Saturday at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

During the hour-long vigil, leaders from various religious and political backgrounds spoke out against anti-Semitism and hate, calling for unity in the wake of the tragedy.

Reneé Chelm, Vice Chair of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, opened the vigil by recognizing those killed and injured during the shooting.

“You don’t have to be Jewish to feel the pain and the horror of peaceful worshippers being gunned down in their own sanctuary,” Chelm said.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish emphasized the frightening implications of the attack.

“The synagogue that was attacked… was in a neighborhood very much like this one. And the murder victims were much like all of us that are here today,” Budish said. “This weekend’s murders, though fueled by hatred against Jews, should raise the alarm for every minority, every person in America.”

The synagogue that was attacked… was in a neighborhood very much like this one. And the murder victims were much like all of us that are here today. This weekend’s murders, though fueled by hatred against Jews, should raise the alarm for every minority, every person in America.”

— Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish

Budish urged the community to report any instances of hate to the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federation and local synagogues.

“We must speak out against hate and bigotry,” he said. “…speak out loudly.”

Beachwood Mayor Martin Horwitz also spoke about the importance of safety.

“Beachwood is home to the [Jewish] Federation, the JCC and a high concentration of synagogues and religious schools,” Horwitz said. “Because of our demographics, we must maintain a higher level of vigilance than most cities.”

Hundreds of people from nearby communities attended the vigil to show their support.

The turnout was tremendous, and the service was also live-streamed at a nearby synagogue.

Since the shooting, security has increased in Jewish communities.

Many police officers were present during the vigil, including police chiefs from Cleveland Heights, Solon, Orange and Lyndhurst, as well as representatives from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

The vigil closed with a moment of silence. All attendees stood while members of the clergy lit eleven candles, one for each life lost in the shooting.

Vigils were also held at Case Western Reserve University and Kent State University.

 

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Cleveland’s Jewish Community Commemorates Lives Lost in Pittsburgh