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Pope condemns synagogue attack, calls for end to ‘hotbeds of hate’

Pope condemns synagogue attack, calls for end to ‘hotbeds of hate’

"We're gathered here for a very sad occasion - to remember our brothers and sisters who had their lives taken away from them".

Police said a suspect, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, was in custody after the attack.

The survivors included Daniel Leger, 70, a nurse and hospital chaplain who was in critical condition after undergoing surgery, his brother, Paul Leger, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. At that time, I had heard the word "kike", but I thought that this disgusting epithet that Mr. Bowers would later use to describe my people was a relic from the past.

This is the kind of attack-no, these are the kinds of attack-that call for the strongest, most powerful, most unequivocal unity of all those who face racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, transphobic violence, a unity to bring down the forces of white supremacy and hate. Yet we should not think this is an isolated incident, unrelated to other events in the United States. "Screw your optics, I'm going in", Bowers wrote, according to The Associated Press.

The auditorium at Vancouver's Jewish Community Centre was packed.

"The crimes of violence are based upon the federal civil rights laws prohibiting hate crimes", a USA prosecutor statement said. The organization also helped Jewish newcomers navigate through immigration screening at Ellis Island.

But still, as updated news reports came in, many Jews across the continent rushed to check the names of the victims, seeing if we knew anyone or if their relatives or friends might be connected to us or our parents or our kids or our camps or synagogues or Jewish community centres or rabbis or schools or youth movements.

The synagogue attack drew condemnation and messages of solidarity from world leaders, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring himself "heartbroken and appalled".

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But he says a security expert had told him in August that he was living in a new era and needed to carry it.

The president's daughter, Ivanka, a convert to Judaism tweeted, "All good Americans stand with the Jewish people to oppose acts of terror & share the horror, disgust & outrage over the massacre in Pittsburgh". They say their hearts and prayers go out to the victims' families.

There's a difference between fair criticism of Israel and hatred, but that line increasingly is getting blurred by those motivated by hate or who use the cover of divisive times to express hate. "Squirrel Hill is the most diverse neighborhood in all of western Pennsylvania", Peduto told reporters. The facade of the fortress-like concrete building is punctuated by rows of swirling, modernistic stained-glass windows illustrating the story of creation, the acceptance of God's law, the "life cycle" and "how human-beings should care for the earth and one another", according to its website.

Its sanctuary can hold up to 1,250 people.

And as Jewish communities around the country mourned the deaths of at least 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue, HIAS issued its own statement of grief over the "senseless act of violence".

Brodowsky says what happened Saturday inside the Pittsburgh synagogue is "our worst nightmare". "But on Sabbath it's an open door", he said.

"He gets up in the morning with new and inventive ways to divide us", Schiff said on CNN's State of the Union.


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