People of different backgrounds and different faiths joined together Sunday at a unity event at the Temple Beth Sholom in Santa Ana.
The event attended by hundreds was open to the public and designed to commemorate the lives of the 11 innocent people slain inside The Tree Of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh by alleged killer, Robert Bowers, who faces 11 counts of murder, as well as six counts of attempted murder for the six people who were wounded in the hate crime attack.
The event offered united front against hate-motivated violence, organizers said.
“We all stand together in mourning what happened regardless of our racial cultural or religious background,” Christian Briggs, a member of the city of Orange’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints told the Orange County Register.
Briggs brought his wife and three children to the event.
Interfaith pastors from several congregations offered support to Orange County’s Jewish community and condemned the apparent hate crime killings. The Pittsburgh shooting shook people of faith throughout the country, many of whom have struggled to make sense of violent events that recently dominated the headlines, Rabbi Heidi Cohen told the Register.
“We need to not be used to it. We need to let it jar us,” Cohen told the newspaper. “We need to allow it to disturb us and when it disturbs us to take action,” Cohen said.
Additional vigils and memorials were held elsewhere around Orange County this weekend, including 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. The Jewish Collaborative of Orange County held an interfaith vigil Sunday evening in Laguna Beach and another event was planned for Monday at 6 p.m. at University Synagogue in Irvine.
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