DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Vigils are being held across the country to honor the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that killed 11 and injured six. In Dallas, Congregation Shearith Israel-Beck Sanctuary hosted a service for a community in mourning.
The crowd overflowed out of the door for the interfaith service at 6:30 p.m. It was in a sanctuary that holds some 700 people.
A traditional Jewish hymn opened the service. Many in the standing-room only crowd joined those singing on stage, bringing the room to a dull roar.
Bradley Laye, president and CEO of Jewish Federation Greater Dallas Area took to the pulpit first. “An attack on one community of faith is attack on all communities of faith,” he said to a loud applause.
He went on to explain the security measures in place to protect the Jewish community in Dallas, which the Jewish Federation estimates is at 70,000. Those measures include physical site assessments, educational seminars and strong relationships with local law enforcement.
“If fact, just yesterday within hours of news breaking from Pittsburgh, we reached out to the Richardson, Plano and Dallas police departments and all sent extra patrols to area synagogues during the Sabbath” Laye said. “We are grateful.”
Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall, speaking of the Jewish community said, “We will protect you. May God bless you.”
Rabbi David Stern of Temple Emanu-El listed all eleven victims as he spoke to the crowd.
Senior Rabbi Ari Sunshine of Congregation Shearith Israel-Beck Sanctuary offered spiritual guidance, rhetorically asking how one should respond to the Pittsburg synagogue shooting.
He encouraged everyone to see goodness in the living.
The service ended as it began — with a hymn, sung by all, in harmony.
A verified GoFundMe page has been set up for the Tree of Life synagogue, the survivors and the victims’ families. Click here to donate.