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Jewish leaders urge worship attendance after hostage siege

By Peter Smith | Related press

On the eve of her 100th birthday on Saturday, Ruth Salton told her daughter she was going one way or another to Shabbat on Friday night at Beth Israel Church, just days after a Gunman who voiced anti-theory conspiracy held four worshipers hostage for 10 hours at Fort Worthy Synagogue.

“I want to support my people,” said Salton, a Holocaust survivor. She said she told her daughter that “if you don’t take me, I will go on my own because I feel like I belong there. I am Jewish, and this is my faith, and I am supporting it.”

She is not alone.

Jewish leaders across the United States are appealing to a strong voter turnout at worship services this weekend as a statement of defiance against acts of opposition like the last hostage siege. last week at Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas.

“SHOW IN THIS SHUL SHABBAT… IN THE REGION / JOY / TO SEE THE GOLD JEWELRY,” Emory University history professor Deborah Lipstadt tweeted, using a traditional term for synagogue. She was nominated by President Biden as special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism abroad.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, a survivor of the October 27, 2018 mass shooting at his synagogue, has sounded the call. After a gunman killed 11 worshipers from three congregations at a synagogue in the deadliest anti-religious hate crime in US history, people packed synagogues across the country for the weekend. after.

“Don’t let opponents terrorize us and win by keeping us out of our sacred space,” Myers wrote in her blog. “Appear in the synagogue, and loudly declare in your presence that you will not be driven into hiding. … (Antisemites) will not drive us out of the house. Not now. Never. ”

Authorities said Malik Faisal Akram, a British national, took four people from Beth Israel Congregation hostage last Saturday. He is asking for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist convicted of trying to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan and who is serving a long sentence in a Fort Worth prison, 15 miles from Colleyville ( 23 km) to the southwest.

The hostages said Akram invoked anti-Semitism, believing the Jews could use his power over President Joe Biden to get Siddiqui released.

The siege ended after the last hostage ran out of the synagogue and an FBI SWAT team entered. Akram was killed by multiple gunshot wounds. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner ruled the case a homicide, under Texas law indicating that a person was killed by another person but not necessarily under the obligation of killing to be a crime.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who was among the hostages, said on Thursday that the congregation was “doing its best to cure the disease.”

“We will have services on Shabbat evening. We will have service on Shabbat morning. We will have religious school on Sunday,” Cytron-Walker said during a webinar on Thursday organized by the Anti-Defamation League.

“I stand before you with immense gratitude just for being alive,” he added at a Friday press conference.

Cytron-Walker encouraged those in the Jewish community to “have a Shabbat shalom, a Sabbath of peace.”

“God willing, we can find a sense of wholeness with our family, with our community. … And I’m going to extend that to not just the Jewish community, I’m going to extend that to all communities,” he said.

Beth Israel Congregational services this weekend were being held at a different location as the investigation at the synagogue was underway. Participation is limited to members only.

Salton’s daughter Anna Eisen said: ‘I hope it will be emotional, because we haven’t had the chance to come together and express or experience any emotions. “I’m ready to hug everyone.”

Rabbi Noah Farkas, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Los Angeles Jewish Federation, said congregations in his area are preparing for greater attendance and are taking precautions. related to coronavirus.

“Faced with a new wave of anti-Semitism, where Jews are threatened online, forced to prove themselves on campus, and afraid to eat in restaurants, we must not let our fears continue,” he said. The fear our enemies want to instill in us defines us. He urged Jews everywhere to “show the world that we are not afraid to live the Jewish way.”

Many Jewish leaders have said the hostage-taking is an example of a larger increase in dissident behaviour. The Anti-Defamation League says such incidents have reached their highest level since it began tracking them decades ago.

Eisen says the supportive response from the local police and the FBI has made her “feel safer in my community and country,” but it’s important to confront anti-Semitism.

Eisen, co-author of books about her father’s Holocaust experiences and herself as the daughter of Holocaust survivors, said synagogues in Europe were controlled by Nazis control “was attacked, and people attacked and killed, because of the same kind of hatred” that was shown last Saturday by the hostage-taker.

“It is nothing new to me. I hate anti-Semitism. I don’t understand why people feel this way about us,” said Salton.

https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/22/jewish-leaders-urge-worship-attendance-after-hostage-siege-18/ Jewish leaders urge worship attendance after hostage siege

Tom Vazquez

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