Harrisburg synagogue surrounded by love during vigil

Community

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The FBI has joined the investigation into a local act of anti-antisemitism.

Until this case is solved, the community is reaching out to support Kesher Israel Synagogue. On Wednesday a vigil was held for the congregation.

“One person’s hatred does not mean that we are hated,” said longtime congregant, Ann Rosenberg.

Despite the recent vandalism, speaker after speaker proved the Jewish community is loved.

“It didn’t drive a fork in any of our hearts. It brought us together, because Harrisburg is together, and we’re all about love,” said Harrisburg Police Commissioner Thomas Carter.

The vigil was organized by the Mayor’s Interfaith Advisory Council, meaning all religions, ethnicities and ages showed support — quickly.

“We’re like emergency responders trying to tell them that we are here for them,” said Pastor Russell Goodman, co-chair of the Interfaith Advisory Council.

“People have been reaching out — you know — by the hundreds all day and night since it happened,” said Rabbi Elisha Friedman.

Unfortunately, it’s happened before, back in ’88.

“It was ugly, ugly stuff. It was swastikas. It was ‘jew dog,'” Rosenberg recalled.

Courtesy of Ann Rosenberg.

Out of the ugly, came beauty. After the incident in ’88, the synagogue was standing room only as supporters flooded services. Thirty-two years later, it’s good that some things never change.

Courtesy of Ann Rosenberg.

“We live in a big country. There are crazy people, but I think the real test to these things is how people respond, and that’s what we can control, and the people here have really done an amazing job,” Friedman said.

These people take that job very seriously.

“It’s also important that we make a statement that all of us are children of god, and all of us are worthy of love,” Goodman said.

“Today it was us. Another day, it could be another one of those groups, and we’ll be out there for them, as well,” Rosenberg said.

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