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Gathering planned for Victoria’s Jewish community following Pittsburgh shooting

Eleven people were killed Saturday morning after a gunman stormed a synagogue
A gathering is planned on Tuesday night at the Jewish Community Centre at 3636 Shelbourne St. in honour of the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. (Google Maps)

The Victoria Jewish community will gather tomorrow night in unison with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, and others around the world.

On Saturday Oct. 27, a gunman stormed into Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, killing 11 people.

“Our community is reeling from this,” said Selma Linzer, board member of the Jewish Federation of Victoria. “It’s been shock and despair and sadness.”

Linzer said since the tragedy occurred, community members across Greater Victoria urged leaders to put together a memorial. The Jewish Community of Victoria and Vancouver Island put out a release that read in part:

“The horrific tragedy at The Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh during Shabbat services on Saturday has torn at our hearts and saddened and shocked us all beyond anything we could have believed possible.

ALSO READ: Victoria’s Jewish community resilient after antisemitic incident

On behalf of the Victoria and Vancouver Island Jewish Community, the Board of the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island will be sending condolences and a message of support to the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh to share with their community.

Jewish communities across Canada have contacted authorities to review security measures at our institutions. While there is certainly a need for vigilance at this time, we are not aware of any threats to our Jewish institutions in the aftermath of the tragedy in Pittsburgh.

May the memories of all who lost their lives be for blessing.

May those who were injured make a full and speedy recovery.”

On Oct. 30, several congregations will come together under one roof for a vigil. Rabbis and representatives will lead the group in prayer, but everyone is welcome to attend.

The Jewish Federation has also sent a letter of condolence and support to the Tree of Life Synagogue.

While the anti-Semitic act has shaken Jewish communities internationally, Linzer asserts that in her community people have only reached out with kindness.

ALSO READ: B.C. synagogues hold vigil to mourn Pittsburgh shooting victims

“Many of our community members have received encouraging words of compassion from friends and relatives outside of the Jewish Community,” Linzer said. “Our sense of shock and despair is not exclusive to the Jewish community.”

The indoor gathering will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday Oct. 30 at the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria at 3636 Shelbourne St.

Visitors are asked to leave all backpacks and over-sized bags at home for security reasons.

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