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Baltimore Jewish community responds to Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

Posted at 5:48 PM, Oct 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-29 18:25:14-04

As flags flew outside the Jewish Community Center in Owings Mills at half-staff, eleven candles slowly burned inside, honoring those killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue. 

"I think people are really in a state of schok about this level of hated happening in our society," Barak Hermann, the CEO of the JCC, said. 

He says the center has been somber since word of what happened inside the 'Tree of Life' synagogue spread. 

The Jewish community in Baltimore stunned. 

"I happened to be at synagogue at the time and to know aht was happening five hours away is awful and beyond tragic," Hermann said. 

According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents rose 57% in the last year across the country. 

While none as deadly or as violent as what happened in Pittsburgh, Baltimore County is no exception. 

"He just, sort of, spit these words out and I just though, 'oh my gosh.' Is he going to come? I just sort of froze," State Delegate Shelly Hettleman said. 

She too was a target of anti-Semitic rhetoric when she was campaigning for re-election in June. 

"A man stuck his head out of a car window to stop the car and he screamed, 'Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler.' You don't represent us. Jews don't represent us and he said that with a bunch of expletives," she said. 

Hate-filled speech that Hermann says has no place in society, and is why the JCC is bringing people together, standing in solidarity. 

"At times like this, we want to be a place that is safe, welcoming, and really inclusive of everyone to be able to come together to --  at these moments of time -- to be able to heat, grieve, and mourn together," Hermann said. 

The Jewish Community Center is partnering with Jewish Community Services holding support sessions for both adults and children coping with what happened in Pittsburgh. To see dates and times, click here