Vote For Those Who Will Unite Us- Vigil for Tree of Life Synagogue

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.

The attacker was not just striking out at Jews, he was also striking out at immigrants that the Jewish community, through the organization HIAS, welcomes as the stranger and protects the refugee.
Here is Beth Gendler, Director of National Council of Jewish Women MN in her introductory remarks speaking about her personal connection with HIAS
Strangers reached out to greet and comfort each other and left feeling united.  Those who had never been in a synagogue before stood side by side with those that call Mount Zion home, and embraced in this sacred space.  There were reassurances to all the Jewish people that they were not alone, but that message resounded with everyone in attendance.
As Nausheena Hussain stated when addressing the congregation regarding white supremacy and Islamaphobia, “Today we mourn, tomorrow we resist,…next Tuesday we vote!”
View Nausheena and Asma Mohammed as they speak about sisterhood and a call to action.
Here is entire video that the Mount Zion temple posted on their Facebook page

Some politicians feed off of stoking fear of others, they profit off of dividing us.  NOW is the time to vote for the peacemakers- the ones who know we do better when we all do better, the ones who are unafraid to rise for those who are most vulnerable or whose voices are not generally heard.  We know in our hearts we have much more in common than different. Vote for those that support common sense gun violence prevention legislation.

On November 6th, send a clear message that you vote for unity and compassion!