Solidarity Shabbats to mark one year since Tree of Life shooting

After last year's #ShowUpForShabbat initiative, AJC is calling on people to show up for Shabbat services on the anniversary of the 2018 Tree of Life shooting.

A crowd attends a vigil outside the Tree of Life synagogue Tree of Life synagogue, marking one week since a deadly shooting there, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 3, 2018 (photo credit: ALAN FREED/REUTERS)
A crowd attends a vigil outside the Tree of Life synagogue Tree of Life synagogue, marking one week since a deadly shooting there, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 3, 2018
(photo credit: ALAN FREED/REUTERS)
With Oct. 27 marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting tragedy at Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh in which 11 people died and six others were injured, synagogues throughout South Florida will remember the victims during upcoming solidarity Shabbat services.
A week following the tragedy last year, millions of people of all faiths rallied around the American Jewish Committee’s #ShowUpForShabbat initiative as they packed synagogues in an expression of solidarity. More than 250 million people engaged with the hashtag on Facebook and Twitter, and millions of people attended services at synagogues in the U.S. and around the world from Nov. 2-3, 2018.
AJC is once again calling on all people of good conscience to show up for Shabbat services on the Tree of Life's shooting anniversary weekend as local synagogues are participating in this initiative this year from Oct. 25-26.
Brian Siegal, director for AJC’s Miami and Broward regional office, said, “The main goal is to help people understand that there’s a wake-up call and that we have to stand up to antisemitism.”
“Antisemitism is a virus and it does not go away on its own. We need people of good will to stand in solidarity with the Jewish people. One way they can do that is by showing support for the #ShowUpForShabbat initiative either by attending synagogue and expressing that solidarity, or by using the hashtag #ShowUpForShabbat on social media and expressing their solidarity that way,” Siegal added.
Since the Tree of Life shooting last year, there have sadly been other tragic antisemitic incidents around the world such as the Chabad of Poway shooting in California on April 27 that left one person dead and three others injured, and the Yom Kippur shooting near a synagogue in Halle, Germany in which two people died and two others were injured.
“The shooting in Pittsburgh a year ago was not the end of the tragic attacks that we have seen,” Siegal said. “We need to draw attention to antisemitism because it’s a growing threat, and it’s not just a threat to the Jewish community. It’s a threat to our society, and it’s a threat to other minorities because we know from history that hate against one community ultimately leads to hate against others, so this is a chance to recognize the connection we all have to each other and we all need to stand up for each other.”
For Linda Myers, development director at AJC's Miami and Broward office, there is a deep connection to the Tree of Life shooting.
“My husband, who lives down here with me, was the executive director at Tree of Life for 23 years, and he had left for another position just two months before the shooting. Otherwise, he would’ve been standing right in the doorway welcoming congregants where the first two victims had died, so it’s intense to think about that.”
Myers feels that AJC's initiative is part of the healing process and calls it heartwarming.
'I’m going to be speaking in at least one, maybe two synagogues and talk about what it was like that morning, which is probably a perspective that not many people will hear because how many of us can say, ‘it could’ve been me. I could’ve been there.’"
Among the local synagogues taking part in this initiative include Temple Torat Emet in Boynton Beach, which will provide special Friday night services and dinner remembering the victims of the Tree of Life shooting on Oct. 25. Services begin at 6 p.m. with dinner following.
Sharon Cadoff, Temple Torat Emet's president, said the synagogue hopes attendees take away the fact that they are not alone.
"Whatever shul you go to, you're part of a much larger community and that tragedies like the one that happened in Pittsburgh, which is 800 + miles away, really have an impact on each one of us that lives here in Palm Beach County."
Contact the synagogue at 561-369-1112 or email for more information.
Other local synagogues participating in this initiative include Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, Temple Judea in Coral Gables, Beit David Highland Lakes Shul in Miami, Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach, Bet Shira Congregation in Pinecrest, Chabad of Downtown Coral Gables, Palm Bech Synagogue, Temple Beth El of Boca Raton, Temple Beth Torah in Wellington, Temple Emanu-El of Palm Beach and B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton.
Visit for more information on the initiative and for a complete list of registered synagogues. Some synagogues are participating but have not yet registered on the site, so contact nearby synagogues to see if they are participating.
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