SALT LAKE CITY – Hundreds of people from all over Utah joined the state’s Jewish community to show solidarity for the people who were killed and injured in the mass shooting inside a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Dignitaries like Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Utah’s Second District Representative Chris Stewart and Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill shared the stage with the leadership of the Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, as they prayed for the city of Pittsburgh and the families of those who were affected.
Governor Gary Herbert led the congregation in reading Psalm 20 before speaking to the crowd.
“Hatred and violence, I think of us agree, has no place in this country. Period. Certainly, not in our places of worship,” he says.
Governor Herbert says he has a soft spot in his heart for Pittsburgh, since he lived there for over a year. He says the steel town is known for its toughness. He also looked back on the time he spent in Israel, and his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He adds, “We celebrate and mourn the loss of humanity as children of God, meaning that we are brothers and sisters regardless of some of our difference of religious doctrine and understanding.”
Rabbi Benny Zippel says Jews, Christians and Muslims can all agree on one key concept.
“We’re all children of one omnipotent God,” Zippel says.
People of every faith were invited to attend the prayer service, and those who couldn’t fit inside synagogue lined around the parking lot, quietly holding candles in remembrance.
Rabbi Zippel says this shooting is a symptom of a big problem.
“It is yet a sense of how ungodly of a society we live in. If we lived in a godly society, people should be able to live with one another,” he says.
Even though he led hundreds of people in prayer, he believes thoughts and prayer are not enough.
“I think it’s important, it’s crucial for each and every one of us to engage in some active reflection and contemplation of how we live our lives and how we interact with one another,” he says.
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