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

Nanaimo baseball team builds practice facility inside recycling depot

Mid Island Pirates held first training session inside Regional Recycling on Tuesday

Regional District of Nanaimo committee chairs appointed

Coun. Ben Geselbracht to chair RDN solid waste management committee

Cedar Yellow Point Artisan Tour marks 30 years of handmade art

Around 20 artists and artisans south of Nanaimo to open their studio doors

Fired Nanaimo CAO’s peace bond hearing won’t be until the new year

Tracy Samra’s three-day hearing scheduled for March 27 in B.C. provincial court in Nanaimo

Nanaimo actress wins two Joey Awards for young Canadian actors

Hannah Zirke, 13, won for her TV roles in ‘When Calls the Heart’ and ‘Sacred Lies’

Family-friendly production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ comes to Nanaimo

Local playwright describes adaptation as ‘less Alastair Sim, more Muppet’

UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP look for tips about suspected poppy donation thief

Police have released images of a man suspected of stealing poppy donation cans

Regional District of Nanaimo to review water infrastructure

Region to make assessments of each of its water service areas

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Most Read