Mass shooting in Pittsburgh synagogue
· Eleven victims of an anti-Semitic attack ·
Thousands of mourners attended a vigil remembering the victims of Saturday’s shooting in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, where an armed man opened fire on a group of mostly elderly individuals, declaring “All Jews must die”. The synagogue’s auditorium was crowded with attendees yesterday evening for the 90-minute ecumenical ceremony, which opened with a song sung by an Afro-American choir. Thousands more gathered outside under the rain in order to take part in this moment of prayer which was broadcast through loudspeakers. One woman sang America’s national anthem while another sang the Israeli national anthem, the Hatikvah. The identities of the eleven victims had been announced just moments before, among them a 97-year-old woman, an 80-year-old couple and two brothers. “Words of hate are unwelcome in Pittsburgh”, said Rabbi Myers, amidst the applause of those present, beginning his message, addressed to political leaders. “Ladies and gentlemen, it has to start with you as our leaders, stop the words of hate”. Myers, who had himself assisted several of the faithful to exit the synagogue,continued with these words, before reciting in Hebrew the prayer remembering the dead.
Other ceremonies were held throughout the United States and the world, and the American Jewish community, the most important one outside of Israel, received the support of Europe’s leaders.
The man accused of the shooting, Robert Bowers, arrested after an exchange of shots with the police, has been indicted on 29 counts and may face the death penalty for his attack on the synagogue, which is the most violent in recent US history. US President Donald Trump has stated that he will travel to Pittsburgh to express his condolences.
St. Peter’s Square
March 21, 2019
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