Dozens of people gathered at Chabad of Vermont on Monday evening to remember the 11 people killed at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Rabbi Yitzchok Raskin urged Burlington’s Jewish community to use the tragedy as an opportunity to come together.
“For us as a group, I think what becomes very important is to be strong about what we are,” Raskin said. “This was an attack on our identity. Not for one second should any one of us take a backseat and say maybe I should hide my Judaism.”
The idea of coming together in solidarity was one shared by many of those at the service, including Eliyahu Junik, development director at Chabad of Vermont.
“Sometimes, after such tragedy, people say let’s hide, let’s not go to the synagogue, it might be dangerous,” Junik said. “But we see we’re a resilient nation, and the opposite is true, we come together, we celebrate together, we’re happy together and we don’t let the hate get to us.”
After the shooting, Burlington Deputy Police Chief Jon Murad visited Chabad on Monday morning. At the service, he said the response to the tragedy reflects the accepting community he serves.
“The legacy from such a loss is to find an additional sense of tolerance,” Murad said. “To have people recognize that this is not what our country is about, that this kind of hatred is absolutely anathema to our community here in Burlington, and in our country as well.”
An interfaith gathering will be held tomorrow at 5:30 pm in Contois Auditorium at Burlington City Hall to show support for the Jewish community.