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Connecticut News

#ShowUpForShabbat Unites Connecticut Communities In Fight Against Anti-Semitism

Davis Dunavin
Hundreds of people attend services at Hamden's Congregation Mishkan Israel on Friday. The mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue prompted the Jewish community to create #ShowUpForShabbat, encouraging Jews and non-Jews to come to synagogue.";

Synagogues across the country over the weekend held their first regular Shabbat services since the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people. Some synagogues even encouraged both Jews and non-Jews to attend, using #ShowUpForShabbat on social media.

Hamden’s Congregation Mishkan Israel was founded in the 1840s, around the same time the Connecticut legislature first allowed public worship by Jews.

Rabbi Brian Immerman told his congregation of about 400 people that he learned about the Pittsburgh shooting just after a bar mitzvah ceremony.

“I tried to hide my pain, my sadness, my fear behind a comforting smile so that you could continue your celebration, and celebrate your coming of age. I didn’t want any of our children in that moment to feel unsafe within our walls.”

Immerman said he thinks many people came back a week later because they were grieving after the shooting in Pittsburgh.

“When something happens to Jews somewhere we all feel that pain, and it is as though they have attacked us here. And so I think people came because what happens when something happens in the Jewish community in Israel or the United States is we gather together as a community.”

Immerman said most of Friday’s crowd were regulars, but some people from outside the Jewish community came too. Reverend Keri Aubert is the pastor at St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church in New Haven.

“I think it’s important for those of us who are not Jewish to show some solidarity with our Jewish siblings-in-faith. And particularly right now, when clearly anti-Semitism is on the rise, somehow it’s becoming more okay in our culture to express anti-Semitism, it’s really important for those of us who disagree with that to stand up,” Reverend Keri Aubert, pastor at Thomas’ Episcopal Church in New Haven, said.

Rabbi Immerman said he wanted to give his congregation a message of love for both neighbors and strangers – and he encouraged them to vote this week according to their core Jewish values.