NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was a strong show of solidarity on Saturday, as local and national Jewish leaders encouraged people of all faiths to attend Shabbat services during the first full sabbath since last weekend’s deadly synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.
From coast to coast, crowds packed services with a diverse turnout as part of the viral #ShowUpForShabbat campaign. Worshipers delivered a collective message of unity, and stood up in the face of hate and division.
“So let us now rise and stand shoulder to shoulder,” Rabbi Joshua Davidson told the congregation at Temple Emanu-El on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “Let us offer our prayers for healing.”
The gathering was larger than usual, with the synagogue welcoming many first timers who arrived at a house of worship much different than their own.
“I’m a Christian, and I just had to come,” Co-Op City resident Angela Mitchell said. “I had to show up for Shabbat.”
The hashtag helped motivate Mitchell to leave her routine and her comfort zone to join congregants at Temple Emanu-El as they honored the memories of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting victims. Together, they vowed to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.
“When the unraveling of civility and decency and our sense of security weakens our spirit, we will draw strength from the timeless ideals of our ancient Earth,” Rabbi Davidson said.
First timers told CBS2 they found the experience not just educational, but also deeply moving.
“The music was beautiful and it was inspiring to be in a beautiful sanctuary,” Jackson Heights resident Mark Cutolo said.
Mitchell says she was so moved by the gathering, she wept through the entire service. Those who regularly attend Temple Emanu-El were affected in the same way.
“It was so profound to see the unity, the camaraderie, and the outpouring of love,” Upper East Side resident Diane Feen said.
In any event, the people of various faiths and backgrounds who attended were together in the notion that increased solidarity is cause for celebration.