Our Hearts Go Out to Pittsburgh & Kentucky – This is What Community Looks Like
On Tuesday night, October 30, we honored the lives of the 11 Jews killed during their Shabbat worship at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, along with the two African Americans killed in a hate crime outside Louisville, KY. We are grateful to the thousands of people who joined us for this profoundly powerful and healing moment. While it is impossible to capture the feeling of solidarity and unity in our building that night, here are some things to know:
Our Sanctuary was filled to capacity and standing room crowds filled the Social Hall, the Multipurpose Room, and the School Lobby as over 2,000 people gathered at Temple Rodef Shalom;
Over 7,500 people watched the service on our website and on Facebook;
120 different organizations were represented, including churches, mosques and almost every type of house of worship, as well as Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, JCRC, ADL and HIAS;
50 volunteers and many staff helped set up over 2,000 chairs, welcomed our guests and made everyone comfortable (with some congregants even giving up their seats for guests);
Almost three dozen government officials were in attendance, including Senator Mark Warner, Fairfax Board Chair Sharon Bulova and other Supervisors, Fairfax County’s Police Chief, State Senators and Delegates, and City of Falls Church officials;
Some items dropped off in person this week by neighbors, friends and strangers: bouquets of flowers, cards of solidarity, children’s art, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and a $20 cash donation.
Although born out of a tragedy, pulling the community together to push back against hatred, bigotry, racism and senseless violence is what we are called to do. Sadly, we will likely have to continue to do this. But our gathering reminds us that there is a way forward; that Judaism is our guide; and that we, all of us, join hands and march on together.
Photographer Lacey Ann Johnson took some incredible images of the evening. We put together a video of them put to One Voice (Ruth Moody), one of the songs that was sung at the service by Cantors Shochet and Rhodes and musician, Robbie Schaefer. Watch it on our You Tube Channel here or here:
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In response to Rabbi Schwartzman’s Rosh Hashanah call to protest rising anti-Semitism by living robust Jewish lives, the Adult Education Committee is pleased to announce “Rodef Reads.” Over the course of 2018/2019, the congregation will take a deep dive into the Jewish calendar by reading Abigail Pogrebin’s book, My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. The publisher has given TRS a special rate of $12 per hardback copy.
Visit our Rodef Reads webpage for more info about the book, the author, the year-long program, purchasing the book, our logo and more. . .