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Spokane Jewish Community Holds Vigil To Remember Pittsburgh Victims

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

As Pittsburgh’s Jewish community began burying its shooting victims, Spokane gathered Tuesday to condemn the rhetoric and violence that led to the tragedy in the Steel City. Temple Beth Shalom opened its doors to the community. In return, the community vowed to do what it could to keep its Jewish members from harm.

Rabbi Tamar Malino said her faith community feels kinship with Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue. Like ours, she said, it’s a place where people celebrate significant milestones in their lives. It’s a place where people felt safe, until that sense of safety was shattered.

When the rabbi spoke, the sanctuary was full. Most were temple members. But they were joined by community leaders and others who came to pay their respects. Mayor David Condon spoke. Congressional candidates Lisa Brown and Cathy McMorris Rodgers were there. So were city council members and leaders of Spokane’s other faith communities, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus, among them.

They included Scott Starbuck, the pastor of the Manito Presbyterian Church. “We gather in mourning, fear and outrage,” he said. He referred to what he called “the hate that seems to be overtaking our land.” We vow to speak up for our Jewish brothers and sisters, he said, and said the community appreciates the humanitarian work done by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. That’s the organization cited by the Pittsburgh shooter in a Tweet before his rampage.

After the speakers, the congregation sang….and said prayers.

Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR
Temple Beth Shalom members light candles commemorating the Pittsburgh synagogue victims during a community forum on Tuesday.

Temple members lit 11 candles — one for each of the Pennsylvania victims. Rabbi Malino read their names and told a story or two about each.

Flags at city facilities will continue to fly at half staff until sundown on Wednesday in honor of the Pittsburgh victims.

I’m Doug Nadvornick reporting.