The Sewickley United Methodist Church lit candles and placed white roses in vases for the 11 people that were killed and the six that were injured at the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. (Charles Fox/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

“Ring of peace” formed around Toronto synagogue after Pittsburgh shooting

More than 200 Muslims and Christians took buses to the Holy Blossom Temple in north Toronto to participate

One week after a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, people of various faiths joined hands to form a circle around a Toronto temple in what they called a symbolic gesture of protection and support for the Jewish community.

Holy Blossom Temple spokeswoman Deanna Levy said a “ring of peace” was formed during Shabbat morning services on Saturday, representing protection formed by kindness. Prayers and speeches were also read, she said.

“This was a moving act of human kindness from members of the Toronto community,” Levy said.

More than 200 Muslims and Christians took buses to the Holy Blossom Temple in north Toronto to participate, said Haroon Sheriff, president of the Imdadul Islamic Centre.

“We held hands together and stood shoulder-to-shoulder,” said Sheriff. “The community came together to give their support and sympathy.”

He said the gesture was meant to show support and solidarity after 11 people were killed in a shooting during worship services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27.

U.S. authorities said a gunman who expressed hatred of Jews entered synagogue during worship services, killing eight men and three women. Authorities allege the suspected gunman, 46-year-old Robert Gregory Bowers, told police “all these Jews need to die.”

The victims’ ages range from 54 to 97, and they included a pair of brothers and a husband and wife. Six people were also injured in the attack, including four police officers.

Also on Saturday morning, about 100 people gathered for what was called a “healing service” outside the Pittsburgh synagogue. Former Tree of Life rabbi Chuck Diamond led a 45-minute service, which featured prayers, songs and poetry.

Holy Blossom Temple’s rabbi, Yael Splansky, has said that Toronto native Joyce Fienberg, who was killed in the Pittsburgh shooting, was a member of Holy Blossom Temple.

Fienberg spent most of her career as a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, retiring in 2008 from her job studying learning in the classroom and in museums. Before that she was a member of the Holy Blossom Temple community, which is one of Toronto’s oldest Jewish congregations.

Splansky said Fienberg was a “very special person” who was married at the temple and whose confirmation photo is on its wall of honour.

“I know there’s a whole generation of Holy Blossom members who grew up here with her, who went to school with her and celebrated her wedding day here at Holy Blossom,” said Splansky, who said she didn’t know Fienberg personally.

Sheriff said he felt it was important for the community, especially people from different faiths, to come together to stand up against hate.

“This is love, this is unity,” he said. ”We are one people.”

Alanna Rizza, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Canadian university profs are getting older and working longer

New statistics also show more women in Canadian university faculties

VIDEO: New UVic buildings expand student housing by 25 per cent

Over 600 new beds mean off-campus housing freed up for affordable housing for Victoria residents

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh proposes new approach to tackling opioid crisis

Singh says the government should look at harm reduction rather than punishment

Dog killed in James Bay hit-and-run

Pedestrian narrowly missed by vehicle, VicPD say

West Shore parents want $10-a-day daycare pilot at other centres

Some parents want pilot funding going towards families in financial need

First ticket sold for Victoria’s second comic con

Guest list is top-secret for the March 22-24 Capital City Comic Con coming 2019

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Have BC Ferry waits ever forced you to cancel your travel plans?

Many BC Ferry passengers heading out from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen on… Continue reading

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Harsh storms have nearly tripled power outages in last five years, BC Hydro says

More frequent and severe storms have damaged Hydro’s electrical systems since 2013

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Most Read