By Tim Harfmann
Over 100 worshipers gathered at Park East Synagogue in Manhattan to stand together in prayer and unite against hatred. The bishop of Brooklyn, Nicholas DiMarzio, was one of many religious leaders in attendance. He said regardless of denomination, worshipers must be strong following the Pittsburgh shooting.
“We can’t be afraid to worship. That’s one of the basic freedoms we have in the United States,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “If we stay home because we’re afraid of coming to places of worship, we let those who are for hate win. We can’t let that happen.”
That was a message echoed by New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan — have faith in God during this tragic time. “He wants us not to wallow in mourning, but to behold a fresh morning where His grace and mercy rises unfailingly with His Son,” said Cardinal Dolan.
Wearing “united against hate” t-shirts, students from the neighboring Jewish elementary school lit candles for the 11 men and women killed at Tree of Life Synagogue. Lauren Myer teaches the Manhattan students. She grew up in Pittsburgh and attended temple there. “I know a couple of the victims from high holidays and Saturday and Sunday mornings there. It’s heartbreaking. They’re related to some of my friends. It’s devastating what they’re going through,” Myer said.
But for these worshipers, they stand strong in faith.
“Our country, in many ways, seems divided at this period of our history, which is a terrible thing. But we are united in faith. This terrible tragedy in the Jewish community affects all of us. So we’re here today to show our solidarity with one another,” said Bishop DiMarzio.
“This is a very important message that we need to send to the entire society that Jews and Judaism is not alone in fighting anti-Semitism. Other denominations, other religions, are going to be with Jews facing the threat,” said Boaz Vilallonga. He worships at the Park East Synagogue.
At the end of the event, worshipers sang God Bless America and reiterated their message of hope, faith, and to stand together against hatred