Houston community holds candlelight vigil to honor victims killed in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

HOUSTON – Community members gathered in Houston on Sunday evening to honor the victims killed in the deadly shooting in Pittsburgh.

A candlelight vigil was held at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center at 7:15 p.m. The vigil was planned by the Houston Rabbinical Association in partnership with ADL, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston and ERJCC.

Organizers anticipated a large crowd and encouraged everyone committed to fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred to attend.

Chief executive officer of the ERJCC, Joel Dinkin, said that the events that happened 1,300 miles away still weigh heavy on the hearts of Texans. He said that the vigil was needed to bring comfort in a dark time. 

“The feeling a sense of community and belonging and a little bit of comfort and knowing that coming together will help people with the pain and grief of yesterday as well as some hope that there is an opportunity in the future to eliminate this hate and violence.”

Alex Brown said he felt compelled to attend to honor the lives that were lost.

“There are 11 family members who are no longer here with us and it is just hard to imagine,” Brown said.

Mayor Sylvester Turner also shared a message during the vigil, calling on the community to stand against ill-intended rhetoric and actions.

“Hate against any group is hate and against us all and we must say, no more,” Turner said.

Neil Rosenstein was at the vigil. He told Channel 2 he attended the Tree of Life Synagogue as a child and grew up in the home right next door.

“My childhood is tied up in that synagogue," Rosenstein said. “It’s been an emotional day.”

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