The calm of Shabbat morning services was shattered on October 27 when a man burst into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh shouting, “All these Jews need to die!” He opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle and three Glock .357 handguns killing 11 worshippers – ranging in age from 54 to 97 – and wounding two others; and also wounding four of the police officers who responded to 911 calls from the scene.
The tragedy – which the Anti-Defamation League said was the worst anti-Semitic attack in American history – devastated both the local Jewish community in Pittsburgh and every Jewish community around the world. In the days following the massacre, vigils and memorial gatherings were held in almost every Jewish community – large and small. Here in Ottawa, a quickly-arranged memorial gathering the next evening filled the Soloway Jewish Community Centre to capacity. The anguish felt by all us present that Sunday night was palpable – and it was no different in other Jewish communities far and near. [Read more…]