Jewish congregations throughout the country are holding Sabbath services Friday for the first time since the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue last week, inviting people of all faiths to attend through a social media campaign to #ShowUpforShabbat and support the Jewish community.
Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven in Orange had double their usual crowd at Sabbath service, and while they opened their arms to new faces, they also took new security measures.
“There are lots of people whose faces we don’t recognize, whose names we do not know, who felt that they really needed to be with us,” the rabbi said during services.
Dozens of Jewish communities in Connecticut took part in the national #ShowUpforShabbat initiative, started by the American Jewish Committee as a show of solidarity with the victims of last week’s mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.
“It is painful, it is scary, but also it has been an incredible week of being inspired by how many people have reached out to us,” Rabbi Michael Farbman said.
Farbman said many in his congregation are shaken by the attack, which claimed 11 lives. He focused the service of prayer for the victims and supporting one another.
But for the first time ever, his temple doors were locked for Shabbat, with one of the congregation on guard.
For some, the service is a teachable moment.
“I want them to feel safe and comfortable in the community and to be strong and feel good about their Jewish identity and be proud of that,” said Cindy Kruger of Woodbridge.
“As long as we remember what makes us us, we will be ok. We’ve seen this before,” Farbman told his congregation.
There are also Shabbat services on Saturday, offering more opportunity to lend support.