#Showupforshabbat creates unity

Temple Adath B’nai Israel honors victims of synagogue shooting

Sarah Rogers
Temple Adath B’nai Israel opened their weekly Shabbat up to the community for #showupforshabbat Friday evening to honor the 11 people killed in the shooting that took place in The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Eleven candles flickered in front of Gary Mazo as he stood at the Bimah, strumming his guitar.

“All my life I’ve been waiting for, I’ve been praying for, for the people to say that we don’t wanna fight no more, there’ll be no more wars and our children will play,” the rabbi sang.

“One day, one day, one day.”   

Mazo led the chorus of voices in Temple Adath B’nai Israel during the event put together Friday evening to honor the 11 people killed during the shooting that took place at The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Temple Adath B’nai Israel holds a Shabbat every Friday. The weekly service that normally only held around 50 people was now at capacity, spilling over 300 bodies from the sanctuary into the lobby outside. Those who couldn’t find a chair lined up against the glass doors leading outside.

This was the first Shabbat Temple Adath B’nai Israel has held since the shooting.

“Tonight,” Mazo said, “we sanctify the memory of Joyce Feinburg, Richard Godfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Robinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax and Irving Yungner. May their memories be for a blessing.”

Seven more synagogues and Jewish schools in Brooklyn were set fire Friday.

William Bowens sat in the back, his eyes filling with tears as he sang about “one day.”

“I would like to believe that,” the junior sociology major said. “I fight for it when I can. There is a quote, I forgot who it originated from, but it goes ‘I fight the fascist, not because I think I will win. I fight fascists because they’re fascist.’”

Bowens said he came to the temple because he was deeply affected by the act of violence. He said he came to show support for his Jewish community and still his own restless heart.

Bowens said it is sad that he was not surprised when he heard the news about what happened in Pittsburgh.

“People are acting like there is this new wave of anti-Semitism,” Bowens said. “No. anti-Semitism has been a key feature of American white supremacist movements for the whole time.”

Sarah Rogers
Gary Mazo led over 300 people in song at Temple Adath B’nai Israel for #showupforshabbat Friday evening.

Bowens said we need to start identifying why these things are happening in the first place.

“We need to fight as hard as we can to fix the actual problem so that we can bring healing and relief to people who are struggling,” Bowens said. “People in this country are struggling, and when people feel despair and hopelessness they can be easily led astray.”

Bowens said community is the best cure for anything. He said students are not just involved in the university community, but the Evansville, Tri-state, national and global community.

“If we are able to be there for one another, to build relationships we don’t normally form relationships with: people of different faiths and people of different situations, that is always a good thing,” Bowens said. “If you understand people, that goes a long way to making yourself better and making your community better.”

Michele Malitz said they opened their Shabbat to the community to show support and solidarity to the Jewish community in the wake of the Pittsburgh massacre.

The president of Temple Adath B’nai Israel said it was an extremely special night, being able to see the support the community has for their Jewish neighbors.

“The hate has to stop,” Malitz said. “People have to be more tolerant. People just have to respect other human beings. We aren’t all the same and we’re not all going to be the same, nor do we want everyone to be the same. It’s really just about respecting each other.”

Temple Adath B’nai Israel is involved in the interfaith coalition One God, One Community, which involves four faith groups from around the area. Malitz said she has learned so much about the Muslim faith through the partnership.

“If communities would actually get their faith groups together, people would really realize that we are so much more alike than we are different,” Malitz said. “You would be shocked to know we are so similar and to see the common threads with all the different faiths.”

Malitiz said the community showed up for them in big numbers.

“We have been fortunate to have that relationship with our faith community and now when we have a need they are here for us and we are here for them,” Malitz said. “I think that is what people need to do, they need to be here for each other.”