Capital Region congregations participate in a national movement

November 02, 2018 11:38 PM

Congregation Gates of Heaven in Niskayuna is inviting all members of the community to join them this weekend for Shabbat services. Shabbat is known as a day of prayer and rest in the Jewish faith, begins at sundown on Friday and ends and sundown on Saturday.

"People have been dropping in all week to say they're sorry the shootings happened, that they support us and that they're there for us" said Arnold Rotenberg of Congregation Gates of Heaven in Niskayuna.

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As an act of solidarity, the doors to Congregation Gates of Heaven are open this weekend to all community members  as the country continues to mourn the 11 lives lost in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in the United States in Pittsburgh last Saturday. 

The open door idea is part of a larger, national movement started on social media called #showupforshabbat.

"Seeing enough people respond in a way that encourages us and supports us and other people makes you think ok things have changed but people haven't changed at heart. Most people support us" said Jesse Schecter from Niskayuna.

Those attending Shabbat services in Niskayuna tonight say they felt they had to come show their support during such a tragic time in the nation. 

"I'm not Jewish but i've been an inter faith follower for a long time, a lot of my best friends are Jewish and this thread of anti-Semitism that's always existed is kind of calling us now, to all come together and stop the hate that's happening" said Derek James Healey of Niskayuna.

Congregation Gates of Heaven says they never imagined the out pouring of support.

"It has been very heart warming and very overwhelming and just wonderful. It's nice to nice to know our community is with us" said Rotenberg.

Some members of the congregation say they hope this can be turned into something that will have a lasting impact on the Jewish faith.

"Sometimes wonderful things happen when tragedies happen. it happened in the civil rights movement, historically with WW2, there are wonderful things that can came out of tragedy" said Schecter.


Brooke Selby

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