An international Jewish advocacy group is urging Americans of all faiths and belief systems to attend Shabbat services at synagogues across the country this weekend, a week after 11 people were shot to death in an anti-Semitic attack at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Calling on Americans to join the #ShowUpForShabbat movement in a show of unity against anti-Semitism and violence, the New York-based American Jewish Committee (AJC) has reached out to religious leaders, elected officials, and other leaders to support the campaign. Many rabbis are expected to dedicate their Shabbat sermons to the initiative.
"The doors of synagogues are open to all," wrote Seffi Kogen, AJC's global director of young leadership. "If you consider yourself an ally of the Jewish people, join us in synagogue on Saturday morning. Elected officials: Come stand in solidarity with your constituents... Diplomats: Come and show that your country stands with Jews all over the world. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, people of any faith and of none: Come and show up for Shabbat with us this Saturday morning."
"What could be a more fitting response to the terror in Pittsburgh?" David Harris, CEO of the Committee, said in a statement. "We are not afraid. We are not going to think twice about affirming our identity and faith. We are not alone."
An outpouring of support from many religious communities followed the attack last Saturday, which took place in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
Members of the Muslim American community organized a fundraiser that as of Friday afternoon had raised more than $230,000 for the grieving families, while a Sikh leader in Oak Creek, Wisconsin urged worshipers to show the local Jewish community the same compassion that had been extended to them after a shooting at their own temple in 2012.
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"After Oak Creek, the Jewish community resoundingly stood by Sikh Americans, and this time we encourage our whole community to stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters," Rajwant Singh, co-founder of the National Sikh Campaign, said in a statement.
On social media, others wrote about their intent to join the initiative in their towns and cities as the movement spread to dozens of Jewish communities around the world.
This weekend, I will #ShowUpForShabbat to be with my community in solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish community. We will pray together for the victims and their families, and that such senseless violence should never befall another community.
— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) November 2, 2018
Tonight I'll be attending the Shabbat Service at Congregation Ahavath Achim in Colchester, CT to be in solidarity with our Jewish siblings. Showing up and praying is the least I can do as a Christian minister who really does care. #ShowUpForShabbat
— Rev. Lauren Lorincz (@RevLorincz) November 2, 2018
Places of worship should be sanctuaries and safe spaces. Tomorrow I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with Jewish Londoners for their Shabbat service to show solidarity to the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting last weekend. #ShowUpForShabbat #PittsburghStrong
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) November 2, 2018
When you’re 10,000km from home, and you feel the need to #ShowUpforShabbat, what’s a 300km train ride to from Hiroshima to one of two synagogues in Japan, really? It was comforting to spend Shabbat with community. Even on the other side of the world, it somehow feels like home. pic.twitter.com/dKhrqAdVCf
— Tema Smith (@temasmith) November 2, 2018
"We are determined to ensure that love triumphs over hate, good over evil, unity over division," Harris said. "That's our America."