As we continue to stand with the families of victims and mourn with the Pittsburgh and Squirrel Hill communities following Saturday’s senseless tragedy, we are comforted by the outpouring of support that filled Temple Emanuel on Sunday night.
More than 2,500 people came together in Denver as one multi-faith community. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen and Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz shared words of support and reiterated that they will continue to be vigilant and work diligently to end acts of terror against our communities.
This inspirational solidarity gathering left no doubt that regardless of faith, ethnicity or political affiliation, our Denver community stands together in a commitment to end hatred.
Our community heard from Scott Levin, Executive Director of the Anti-Defamation League; Rabbi Jay Strear, President & CEO of JEWISHcolorado; Reverend Amanda Henderson, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado; Dilpreet Jammu, Colorado Sikhs; Qusair Mohamedbhaiv, Colorado Muslim Society; and Rabbi Salomon Gruenwald, President of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council. Rabbi Joseph Black of Temple Emanuel led us in prayer and song, joined by Cantorial Soloist Steve Brodsky and Cantor Elizabeth Sacks.
The vigil, which filled Denver’s oldest synagogue to capacity, provided reassurance that our community will not be divided by hate. Over 100 clergy, representing a diversity of faiths, stood and sang together, united in support of peace, justice and religious freedom. The evening movingly concluded with the Sikh community sharing water and chai tea as an expression of love and consolation for our Jewish community.
The pain of Saturday’s deaths, of each innocent life lost so tragically, will be with all of us for a very long time. This horrific act will be grieved by every American who stands for the values that guided the formation of this great nation, a nation founded on religious freedom.
We thank Temple Emanuel for hosting Sunday’s Community Solidarity Vigil, ADL for so masterfully coordinating the effort, the many elected officials, including Senator Michael Bennet and Representatives Diana DeGette and Mike Coffman, who were in attendance, the remarkable turnout from faith leaders of every denomination, fellow Denverites of all walks of life, and you, our community, for joining your fellow citizens for one of the most moving demonstrations of shared values we have seen.
JEWISHcolorado is helping to organize this Shabbat as National Solidarity Shabbat, a time to convene in your local synagogue to mourn the victims in Pittsburgh as well as to demonstrate that our Jewish communities will not be intimidated. For more information about Solidarity Shabbat, visit jewishcolorado.org/solidarity-shabbat. We will continue to work with our national partners and with the Pittsburgh community to provide direct assistance to all of those impacted by Saturday’s tragedy. If you would like to support the victims and families, contributions can be made through the Our Victims of Terror Fund and will go directly to the Pittsburgh community.
We want to express our deepest gratitude again to state and local law enforcement, which have been tremendous over these last 72 hours, responding immediately to our requests to coordinate police presence at community programs and providing the extra sense of security necessary at this time.
May we continue to freely pray, as Jews and as Americans, for the adherence to the values of religious freedom our nation was built upon and for the peace our broken world so desperately needs.
Diana Zeff Anderson, Chair, Board of Directors JEWISHcolorado
Jacki Cooper Melmed, Chair, JCRC
Rabbi Jay Strear, President & CEO JEWISHcolorado
Editor’s Note: The Jewish Federations of North America also provided this set of resources:
Below is some information about how you can take part in #SolidarityShabbat and #StandWithPittsburgh. We are pleased to partner with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) on #ShowUpForShabbat and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on #NeverIsNow.
*Your Federation can help you find unaffiliated synagogues.