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Santa Ana Jewish temple invites community to heal, mourn Pittsburgh mass shooting victims



Music welcomed 200 community members of diverse backgrounds into Temple Beth Sholom in Santa Ana on Sunday, Oct. 28, as residents commemorated the lives of 11 people slain Saturday at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

The event was organized as an opportunity to heal and support those shocked by the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, said Rabbi Heidi Cohen. The gathering was open to people of any religion and attended by many who wished to present a united front against hate-motivated violence.

“We all stand together in mourning what happened, regardless of our racial cultural or religious background,” said Christian Briggs, 31, a member of the city of Orange’s stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. “It should never happen.”

On Sunday, he, his wife, Sarah Briggs, 28, and their three children sang, shook hands and prayed in solidarity with neighbors from all walks of life.

Interfaith pastors from several congregations have reached out to offer support to Orange County’s Jewish community and condemn what was an apparent hate crime, Cohen said. She said the Pittsburgh shooting shook people of faith throughout the country, many of whom have struggled to make sense of violent events that have dominated recent headlines.

“We need to not be used to it. We need to let it jar us,” said Cohen. “We need to allow it to disturb us, and when it disturbs us, to take action.”

The ADL said additional vigils and memorials were held elsewhere around Orange County this weekend including at Shir HaMaalot in Irvine, Temple Bat Yahm in Tustin, Congregation B’nai Israel in Tustin, Temple Beth El in Aliso Viejo and B’nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley.

Also, the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County planned an interfaith vigil in Laguna Beach on Sunday night. Another event is planned for Monday at 6 p.m. at  University Synagogue in Irvine.

Source: Orange County Register

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