Central New York, Community, Religion

Jewish Community Coping with Pittsburgh Shooting

Jewish community members continue to mourn the 11 victims from the Pittsburgh synagogue attack

Audio transcript: 11-2 LaRowe script (1)

By Jonathan LaRowe SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – It has been almost a week since a gunman went into a synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed eleven people. The effects of that day are still reverberating across the country.

The Jewish population in Syracuse is no different. The Jewish Community Center in Syracuse hosted a vigil Monday night to honor the victims of the attack. Marci Erlebacher, the executive director of the JCC, said it was important to host the vigil at the JCC.

“”We are the central location or the central address,” Erlebacher said. “All the temples, everybody wanted it here because all would feel welcome within our doors.”

More than 300 people came to the vigil to pay their respects. Erlebacher said the community is still grieving and she wanted to make sure there was a proper outlet for that grief.

“We know what a hard time it is right now for everyone,” Erlebacher said. “Everybody is just trying to cope with what happened in whatever way they feel most comfortable.”

Temple Adath Yeshurun is a conservative synagogue in Syracuse. Esa Jaffe, the prayer leader at the temple, said the congregation is feeling a lot of emotions right now.

“People are sad, they are angry and they are confused,” Jaffe said.

Although Jaffe admitted that what happened in Pittsburgh was a tragedy, she said the Jewish community has survived for as long as it has because of the great determination of its people.

“The only way to stand up to hate, and to stand up to antisemitism is to keep going,” Jaffe said. “And if we don’t keep going then they’ve won. So that’s the way Jews have survived for centuries and centuries.”

Jaffe said that the synagogue is conducting a full review of its security procedures and protocols to make sure it is fully prepared because antisemitism is real and it is not going away.