On October 29th, close to two thousand people, from all faiths and non-believers, came together to honor and mourn the lives that were lost at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh at the hands of a hate-filled gunman. Those of us who were in the main sanctuary watched in wonder at the ever growing crowd-unaware of all of those in overflow rooms and out on the streets surrounding Mount Zion Temple who felt compelled to join this community of love. For all of the fear and hate that events of the last week have wrought upon our country, in this sacred space we were reminded of what America looks like and what we stand for- togetherness, peace, hope and a determination to end the hate and violence.
Speakers included several area rabbis, a local cantor who grew up in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, survivors of gun violence from Survivors Lead, a leader from National Council of Jewish Women, Muslim leaders from Reviving Sisterhood, a leader from Jewish Community Action and several others. including Protect Minnesota At the end, clergy from all faiths were invited to come to the front and join together. Every faith and denomination must have been represented as they just kept coming down the center aisle as they joined forces and we all sang about building this world from love.
As Nausheena Hussain stated when addressing the congregation regarding white supremacy and Islamaphobia, “Today we mourn, tomorrow we resist,…next Tuesday we vote!”