WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — It could have happened here.
That’s what Rabbi Joshua Lief told those gathered at Temple Shalom about the shooting at the Tree of Life.
He says it was a smaller Pittsburgh congregation, in a residential neighborhood on a tree-lined street much like Temple Shalom’s off National Road.
The rabbi feels it’s not a question of whether evil will happen, it’s if good people will respond.
And that was the case, both at the temple’s memorial service the day after the tragedy, and today, when Friendly City officials gathered to remember the 11 people lost not even 50 miles from Wheeling.
Rabbi Lief says there’s no way to make any place of worship a ‘hard target’ for attackers.
People who wish to do evil can attempt to do evil. The question is do we lock our doors and turn out the lights and run and hide, or do we open our doors and welcome in the stranger and say ‘our values are important enough to be open in the practice of our faith.’Rabbi Joshua Lief, Temple Shalom
There’s this phrase that’s been sticking in my head, which is ‘it takes all of us.’ And I think an event like this, or something we can rally around like this, shows folks that it’s about solidarity and unity much more than it is division.Ron Scott Jr., Cultural Diversity and Community Outreach Director, YWCA
Local groups like the Men of Change and the NAACP reached out to the temple to hold this remembrance, in response to an increased discussion of antisemitism in recent weeks.
Temple Shalom will have a public Sabbath observance Friday night at 8 p.m.