Hoosiers Gather For Pittsburgh Shooting Memorium
Community and political leaders gathered at the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation for a memorial service in honor of the 11 killed at a Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue over the weekend.
Before the service, the assistant director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council David Sklar says the tragedy was a shock but that anti-Semitic sentiments have been on the rise.
"We’ve never experienced anything like it over my 10 years like we have over the last 2-3 years. Unfortunately, I think this was a culmination and now we have to turn our focus to how we prevent it from happening again," says Sklar.
Most of the speakers –– both political and religious –– spoke against indifference in the wake of hatred. Rabbi Dennis Sasso told the crowd to leave with a commitment not only to pray but to take action.
"My friends, we must respond to hatred with love but the opposite of love is not only to hate, the opposite of love is indifference," says Rabbi Sasso.
Many politicians attended the service. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said our country’s divisions are not accidental.
"Anti-Semitism is not new to this country, what is new is its resurgence -- everywhere, even here," says Hogsett.
There were local speakers from a local Methodist Church, the Muslim Community Association and several Rabbis spoke at the service. Those in attendance included Lt. Governor Sussane Crouch, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, Congresswoman Susan Brooks and Congressman Andre Carson.
Meanwhile Monday, students and community members gathered in Bloomington.
IU Senior and Pittsburgh native Sydney Recht says the Pittsburgh shooting occurred in an area that is has been cherished by her family for years.
"The man who attempted to take the security and safety from my home and our community sacred place will lose his fight, as have all other who have attempted in the past," says Recht.
The event, hosted by the Bloomington Hillel Center, featured remarks from Jewish community leaders. The event welcomed those of all religions to reflect and stand united against antisemitism.
IU President Michael McRobbie says the university, for its part, will continue to foster a safe space for students of all backgrounds.
“We cannot, and we must not hide from our responsibility as a community to confront and condemn such acts of anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred whenever and wherever we find them," says McRobbie.
The Anti-Defamation League reports a 57 percent increase in antisemitic incidents from 2016 to 2017.
Indiana is one of five states without a hate crime law. Governor Eric Holcomb called for hate crime legislation after a Carmel synagogue’s property was vandalized with a swastika earlier this year.