Local Jews Respond to Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting
Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris denounced the tragedy, saying honest conversations can promote understanding and perspective. Another Golden Valley family shares their thoughts after learning a relative died when a shooter opened fire on a service at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Anti-Jewish hate crimes are up
Heartbreak and healing. Golden Valley residents are reacting to Saturday’s mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Eleven people were killed and six others hurt.
The attack comes at a time where anti-Jewish hate crimes are on the rise.
According to the FBI, Jewish people were the victims of hate crimes more than any other religious minority in 2016. In that year, reports show 684 anti-Jewish incidents.
Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris is Jewish. He denounced the hateful act and says he will not be afraid.
“It’s natural to be fearful,” says Harris. “It’s natural to be scared and it’s natural to be worried, but if we give into that fear, then they win. I refuse to let them win. We can’t let them win.”
Harris says ignorance and lack of education is often behind the hateful rhetoric.
“If they want to sit down and have honest conversations and talk about understanding each others perspectives, that’s going to lead to better education of everybody,” says Harris. “Then yea, let’s go forward with that, but this isn’t going to work. We can’t afford to let it work.”
Golden Valley woman has family member killed in attack
The attack at Tree of Life Synagogue is hitting too close to home for Golden Valley’s Melissa Cohen Silberman. She’s been watching the news and has lost sleep since the shooting.
“I don’t understand any of this,” says Silberman.
She also lost a distant relative, 75-year-old Joyce Feinberg.
“She was a cherished friend, engaging, elegant warm person,” explained Silberman.
Cohen Silberman attends Adath Jeshurun Congregation. Leaders say they are increasing security after the attack in Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is stepping up patrols at Jewish organizations and places of worship.
The Golden Valley resident says it’s hopeful to see support from around the world. It’s also good to see people conquering hate with something much more powerful–love.
“Just be nice, every day, every moment, every second, everything you do in your daily life. Just be a human being,” says Silberman.