AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - What was meant to silence a synagogue is bringing communities across the country together. The Augusta Jewish Confederation hosted a solidarity gathering at the Augusta Jewish Community Center to honor the 11 lives stolen at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this weekend.
Executive Director of the Augusta Jewish Federation and of the Augusta Jewish Community Center Daniel Chejfec said, “He was aiming at the very foundation of American society. The idea that we can come together, keep our differences, but still be together in support of what this country represents.”
The ceremony served as a statement - expressing the Jewish community’s position on the attack, liturgy honoring the dead, and remarks from Alan Saul, who personally knew some of the victims.
“The killings of my friends were pretty devastating. Since then I’ve been communicating with my family in Pittsburgh and friends in Pittsburgh, and been kind of obsessed with the news and trying to see what’s going on," said Alan Saul.
Along with that obsession comes reflection. He was friends with Jerry Rabinowitz, who was laid to rest today. His other friend, Daniel Leger, a chaplain, is in his prayers as he recovers.
Saul hopes this hate-crime inspires people to stop perpetuating negativity.
In Pittsburgh, people who felt President Donald Trump’s rhetoric incited this violence shunned him, as he visited to express his sympathy. Saul said, that isn’t necessary.
Saul said, “I’m sorry that people pay attention to him because it just isn’t worth any of this. There’s no point in protesting - it’s not like he cares about anything other than himself. I just don’t see the point.”
The president of the Augusta Jewish Confederation said this ceremony is about honoring the victims, american values and Americans coming together as a society and saying, ‘this is not acceptable’.
The Augusta Jewish Confederation is hosting a solidarity gathering Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Augusta Jewish Community Center. They are inviting everyone from the community, of all religious beliefs.
The purpose of the service is to honor the 11 lives lost in the shooting that happened at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday. However, the executive director says that this service will also serve as a statement that we are standing up for our American values and freedoms.
He said the service will be short, and that standing in solidarity for those lost will show that we defend our country.