California

Vigil Honors Victims of California Synagogue Shooting

More than 100 people gathered Thursday to pay tribute to the woman killed at a California synagogue.

The shooting on Saturday hit close to home for many.

"In the face of darkness and in the face of so much hate, we're not going to back down. We're going to redouble our efforts to do more good," said Rabbi Yosef Wolvovsky, the Chabad Jewish Center director.

At the Mandell Jewish Community Center in West Hartford, five candles were lit for Lori Gilbert Kaye. Kaye was killed and three others injured when a gunman entered the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in California.

"Today we say never again and we mean that," said Joel Leyden.

Many who gathered at the vigil say the shooting left them feeling vulnerable and searching for comfort.

"Healing together and coming together is always important," said Laura Zimmerman.

Zimmerman's son is a San Diego Police sergeant, and he took part in the investigation of the shooting. She says he spoke to her of that community's resilience.

"He had been at the command center all day and how devastating but how wonderful that community came together and how strong everyone was moving forward," said Zimmerman.

At Thursday's gathering organizers played a video from Poway Synagogue's rabbi who called on everyone to stand together and to not allow fear to keep them from their house of worship. As people gathered strength from one another, they also spoke of a need to stay vigilant.

"To make sure we don't get complacent and we continue to work with our law enforcement and with our community and with the elected officials to make sure all our houses of faith are safe," said Zimmerman.

"Immediately after a tragedy people need to come together. They need to console each other, but they also need to take practical steps in regard to security," said Leyden.

West Hartford police attended the gathering, and those in attendance said it brought them comfort to see them there.

Those who spoke say they remain committed to spreading a message of love, tolerance, inclusion, and respect.

"Today let's use our collective energy to heal, and tomorrow, and all the days after, we must use our collective power to fight hate, stop the violence, and achieve peace," said Steve Ginsburg, director of the Anti-Defamation League of CT.

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