Jewish leaders urge worship attendance after hostage siege

“SHOW UP IN SHUL THIS SHABBAT … IN DEFIANCE/JOY/TO SEE FELLOW JEWS,” Emory College historical past professor Deborah Lipstadt tweeted, utilizing a standard time period for synagogue. She is President Biden’s nominee as a particular envoy to watch and fight antisemitism overseas.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, who survived the Oct. 27, 2018, mass taking pictures at his synagogue, echoed the decision. After a gunman killed 11 worshipers from three congregations on the synagogue within the deadliest antisemitic hate crime in U.S. historical past, individuals packed synagogues across the nation the next weekend.

“Don’t let the antisemites terrorize us and win by retaining us out of our sacred areas,” Myers wrote in his weblog. “Present up in synagogue, and loudly state by your presence that you’ll not be pushed into hiding. … (Antisemites) won’t chase us from our house. Not now. Not ever.”


Authorities say Malik Faisal Akram, a British nationwide, took the 4 individuals who have been at Congregation Beth Israel final Saturday hostage. He was demanding the discharge of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist convicted of attempting to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan and who’s serving a prolonged sentence in a jail in Fort Price, which is 15 miles (23 kilometers) southwest of Colleyville.

The hostages mentioned Akram cited antisemitic stereotypes, believing that Jews may wield energy over President Joe Biden to have Siddiqui launched.

The siege ended after the final hostage ran out of the synagogue and an FBI SWAT workforce rushed in. Akram was killed by a number of gunshot wounds. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner dominated the case a murder, which beneath Texas regulation signifies that one particular person was killed by one other however doesn’t essentially imply the killing was a criminal offense.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who was among the many hostages, mentioned Thursday that the congregation was “doing its greatest to heal.”

“We’re going to have companies on Shabbat night. We’re going to have companies on Shabbat morning. We’re going to have spiritual faculty on Sunday,” Cytron-Walker mentioned throughout a webinar Thursday hosted by the Anti-Defamation League.

“I stand earlier than you with nice gratitude simply to be alive,” he added throughout a Friday information convention.

Cytron-Walker inspired these within the Jewish group “to have a Shabbat shalom, a Sabbath of peace.”

“God prepared, we’re capable of finding a way of wholeness with our households, with our communities. … And I might prolong that not solely to the Jewish group, I might prolong that to all communities,” he mentioned.

Congregation Beth Israel’s companies this weekend have been being held at one other location as a result of the investigation on the synagogue is ongoing. Attendance was restricted to members.

“I count on it to be emotional, as a result of we’ve got not had the chance to come back collectively and categorical or expertise no matter feelings we’ve got,” mentioned Anna Eisen, Salton’s daughter. “I’m able to hug individuals.”

Rabbi Noah Farkas, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Higher Los Angeles, mentioned congregations in his area have been making ready for higher attendance and have been taking coronavirus-related precautions.

“In face of a brand new wave of antisemitism, the place Jews are threatened on-line, pressured to show themselves on campus and concern consuming in eating places, we should not let the concern our enemies wish to instill in us outline us,” he mentioned Friday. He referred to as on Jews in every single place to “present the world that we aren’t afraid to reside Jewishly.”


Many Jewish leaders have mentioned the hostage standoff was an instance of a bigger rise in antisemitic acts. The Anti-Defamation League says such incidents have reached their highest ranges because it started monitoring them a long time in the past.

Eisen mentioned that the supportive response of native police and the FBI has made her “really feel safer in my group and my nation,” however that it’s additionally necessary to confront antisemitism.

Eisen, co-author of books about her father’s Holocaust expertise and her personal because the daughter of Holocaust survivors, mentioned synagogues in Nazi-controlled Europe “have been attacked, and folks have been attacked and killed, due to the identical type of hatred” that was proven final Saturday by the hostage-taker.

“It’s nothing new to me. I hate antisemitism. I don’t perceive why individuals really feel that approach about us,” Salton mentioned.

On the identical time, having survived the Holocaust and far else, she is able to rejoice her centennial.

“I might very very like to be 18, however since I’m 100, I’m grateful that I got here to a degree to reside to 100 years,” she mentioned.

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