Schenectady service honors Pittsburgh shooting victims

October 29, 2018 11:25 PM

SCHENECTADY – Hundreds of people gathered at Congregation Gates of Heaven in Schenectady Monday night to honor and remember the victims of the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.


"I'm not afraid of my synagogue, not afraid of telling people that I'm Jewish,” said Jennifer Price who is a member of Congregation Gates of Heaven.

Price said her grandparents were Holocaust survivors. She said in today’s climate, she wasn’t surprised by the shooting that left 11 people dead.

"It was devastating and I think that's the word,” said Price. "It wasn't shocking, but it was devastating."

Price joined in with hundreds of others for the service Monday to show solidarity in the wake of the shooting.

"When we stand and pray in unison, we're not alone and that reassures us and that's very important as part of healing,” said Rabbi Matt Cutler.

Rabbi Cutler said he thinks anti-Semitism has gotten worst in the country over the past few years. But Monday night was about every faith coming together.

“This is a time to come together to show what we stand united for, that we stand on the side of love, and on the side of peace and unity,” said Minister Jonathan Vanderbeck of Trinity Reform Church. “We stand against hate and oppression and that's something that really carries throughout all our religious traditions."

Several leaders of different religions spoke at the service, prayers were said and song were sung. Gaining a round of applause from the crowd was one speaker who disagreed with President Donald Trump’s comment that the synagogue in Pittsburgh could have been better equipped to respond to the shooting if it had armed guards.

Rabbi Cutler also said armed guards are not the answer.

"To make my congregation safe we have to tone down the rhetoric and we have to stop preaching anger and hate and we have to start talking peacefully and civilly,” said Rabbi Cutler.

As people of every faith begin to move forward from the shooting, Rabbi Cutler said there’s no reason to live in fear.

"If you yield to terror, change your ways,” said Rabbi Cutler. “If you succumb to the fear, terrorism wins. And that's not going to happen."


Emily DeVito

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