Southeastern CT Synagogues Encourage People to #ShowUpForShabbat

Jewish leaders across the country are not allowing their communities to live in fear. Instead, ahead of the first Sabbath after the massacre in Pittsburgh, they’re encouraging people of all faiths to Show Up for Shabbat in solidarity with Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.

"In my lifetime I don’t recall any act of (Anti)Semitism so terrible and so close to home,” said Rabbi Marc Ekstrand of Temple Emanu-El in Waterford.

The shooting that killed 11 people at Tree of Life synagogue hit especially close to Ekstrand’s heart. He grew up going to services at a synagogue also in the Jewish enclave of Squirrel Hill.

“I told the congregation what was going on and I just started to cry,” Ekstrand said.

He saw the need to heal. Sunday he hosted a vigil along with Congregation Beth El. Monday faith leaders and people of all beliefs came together. Nearly 500 people filled the sanctuary.

He’s ready to see more inter-faith support again this Shabbat. Especially as the hashtag #ShowUpForShabbat is spreading. Started by American Jewish Committee (AJC), they’re asking Jews and non-Jews to attend a Shabbat service Friday or Saturday in solidarity with Pittsburgh’s Jewish community and to show love triumphs over hate.

“To worship together. To sing, to celebrate, to hold each other as a community over the course of the weekend,” said Rabbi Rachel Safman of Congregation Beth El in New London.

Rabbi Rachel Safman has already planned for this weekend to have a special program celebrating being an inclusive congregation, specifically to the LGBTQ community. It was easy to expand that into #ShowUpForShabbat.

Safman said she got the word out about through the Greater New London Clergy Association who disseminated information to the faith communities throughout southeastern Connecticut.

Kyle Murray, of New London, is a member of outCT, which is non-profit that supports LGBTQ individuals. He’s not Jewish and said he’ll be there.

“We all have a place in this world. I think it is imperative that love transcends whatever hatred,” Murray said.

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