POWAY, Calif. – Congregants at the Chabad of Poway heeded a call to “fill the synagogue” on Friday night, nearly one week after a deadly synagogue shooting at the Southern California house of worship.
As some congregants walked to a unity service and dinner, they passed community members holding signs of support. Drivers honked horns in agreement.
“It’s a community that comes together, and this type of hatred can’t take over who we are. It’s not welcome here,” said Leslie Talansky, who was holding a sign that said “Poway Strong.”
Law enforcement officers were clearly visible in the area surrounding the synagogue. Multiple street corners were lined with flowers; signs were left with messages such as “Share love and kindness.”
Last Saturday – the last day of Passover – a gunman entered Chabad of Poway and opened fire, killing one person and inuring three others. Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was among those injured.
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Goldstein has publicly urged Jews to respond to the tragedy by becoming more devoted to their faith.
“From here on in I am going to be more brazen,” he wrote in a New York Times opinion piece on Monday. “And I’m going to use my voice until I am hoarse to urge my fellow Jews to do Jewish. To light candles before Shabbat. To put up mezuzas on their doorposts. To do acts of kindness. And to show up in synagogue – especially this coming Shabbat.”
A standing-room-only crowd of about 700 gathered at the synagogue earlier in the week to honor Lori Gilbert Kaye, 60, who died in the attack.
The Chabad-Lubavitch organization said earlier this week that the Poway congregation was launching a “fill the synagogue” campaign, asking Jews to show solidarity with the congregation in light of the tragedy.
Shabbat is a term for the Jewish sabbath, a time between sundown Friday night and sundown Saturday night when observant Jews refrain from many daily tasks such as driving and cooking.
Contributing: Rebecca Plevin and Jorge L. Ortiz
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