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Howard County community hosts vigil mourning those killed at Pittsburgh synagogue

Posted at 10:30 AM, Oct 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-29 19:09:43-04

In the wake of the tragic shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the Howard County interfaith community is coming together to host a vigil Monday night. 

11 people were killed when a gunman came into the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh during Sabbath services this past Saturday.  

RELATED: Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims identified

To remember, honor, and mourn those killed in this awful attack, the Howard County interfaith community is hosting a vigil. 

“Hate knows no borders,” said Rabbi Susan Grossman of Beth Shalom Congregation, one of the lead organizers of the vigil. “That is why the only answer to hate is unity in our diversity.  Some of the victims were personal friends or extended family of members of the local Jewish community, which makes the loss very personal. But for all of us, this is a reminder of the destructive nature of hate."

Grossman said the goal of the vigil is also to show that unity of love triumphs over hate. 

"While an attack specifically targeting Jews on our holy day in a Jewish house of worship, the attacker also claimed to be targeting HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aide Society that assists all immigrants. Where one person or group of persons is a victim of a hate crime, we are all victims," Grossman said. 

They will sing, pray and light candles for the victims of the shooting.

"We will have individuals lighting these candles representing all different aspects of our ethnicity and faith community here in Howard County to symbolize the importance of unity in the face of hatred," Grossman said.

The vigil will be held around 7 p.m. at Beth Shalom Congregation at 8070 Harriet Tubman Lane in Columbia. There is overflow parking and seating to accommodate over 300 people from all walks of life.

"It's not enough to say, 'Well it just happened to them,' it's really happening to all of us and it’s time for all of us to band together," Grossman said.

The vigil is sponsored by the Howard County Board of Rabbis, Jewish Federation of Howard County, and Jewish Community Relations Council, and is also being supported by leaders representing Howard County’s ethnic, cultural, faith, and gender orientation diversity.