Jews around the world will be showing their solidarity with Pittsburgh this Shabbat by doing what the 11 victims had been doing when they were murdered last Saturday: coming together in prayer and community.
The American Jewish Committee, partnering with the Jewish Federations of North America, has launched the campaigns, #ShowUpForShabbat and #SolidarityShabbat, and are urging even those Jews who are nonpracticing to attend a Shabbat service at a congregation or community center this weekend.
“I can think of no better response to such a heinous violation of the sanctity of a synagogue than to encourage all American Jews to seek spiritual sanctuary in their sanctuaries, and to do so proudly and without fear,” wrote Seffi Kogen, the American Jewish Committee’s Global Director of Young Leadership, in a statement.
“Many 21st century Jews are nonpracticing, agnostic or even atheistic, but you don’t have to follow Jewish religious practices or believe in God to believe in the power of community,” Kogen continued. “We should pack the pews this coming Shabbat, raising our voices in prayer, listening to our rabbis, and rejoicing with our friends. And we should be public about it.”
Noting the “outpouring of support and solidarity” from Jewish organizations all over North America and Israel, the JFNA leadership “[sees] this as a moment of great unification of purpose,” according to a statement from Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of the JFNA, and Mark Wilf, chair of its board of trustees.
Local, national and international Jewish organizations are being asked to encourage their members to participate in the campaign, and congregations are being asked to “welcome the anticipated influx of attendees at their Shabbat services with explanatory programming, and rabbis are being asked to dedicate their sermons to discussing the initiative.”
Members of Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha will be worshiping at Rodef Shalom, 4905 Fifth Ave., tonight at 6 p.m. New Light Congregation will have its Friday night service at Congregation Beth Shalom, 5915 Beacon Road, at 7:30 p.m. in the Helfant Chapel, and Dor Hadash Congregation will be worshiping at 7:30 p.m. in Beth Shalom’s Homestead Hebrew Chapel. Dor Hadash’s erev Shabbat service is intended only for those who are already a part of its community.
On Saturday, TOL*OLS, Dor Hadash and New Light will join together at Beth Shalom as part of Solidarity Shabbat beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The service “will be a combined service of unity, with all four congregations participating in davening,” according to an email from Hazzan Rob Menes, Beth Shalom’s executive director.
“While the service will be, first and foremost, a regular Shabbat service, there will be some additional prayers and speakers.”
Following the service, there will be a kiddush for the invited congregations and Beth Shalom’s members, “sponsored by many members and supporters of the congregations.”
Young adults in Pittsburgh are encouraged to attend a joint solidarity Shabbat Dinner. The ADL and OneTable, along with iVolunteer Shabbat, Friendship Circle, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Shalom Pittsburgh, Repair the World and Moishe House, “are coming together to mobilize to celebrate diversity, equality, and inclusion and standing together against fear, hate and anti-Semitism,” according to a statement from the groups. The dinner will be held at the Friendship Circle, 1922 Murray Ave., tonight at 7 p.m. Young adults between the ages of 22 and 45 are urged to attend. There is no cost. Registration information can be found at shalompittsburgh.org/events/volunteer-solidarity-shabbat-dinner. PJC
Toby Tabachnick can be reached at email@example.com.