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

Scammer targeting elderly in Kelowna with broken-down vehicle story

A door to door scammer is in Kelowna, targeting seniors according to Kelowna RCMP

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Okanagan volunteers reflect on building classrooms in Nepal

Through the charity Her International, the volunteer group built four classrooms

Cool Arts’ double header event features Lake Country artist

Celebration of artist Mark Mercer’s work to run alongside community art night in Kelowna.

Kelowna rallies around father of five after cancer diagnosis

Fundraisers are planned throughout November

Weekend weather update: Crisp and sunny

This weekend will see lots of sunshine and below season temperatures for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

$224.5 million announced for Highway 1 bridge replacement in Sicamous

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says bridge option will be announced next month

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Accident north of Vernon involves SUV and semi truck

Minor delays reported in Highway 97 crash

Ontario driver rolls car in Okanagan

Crash near Vernon follows reports of erratic driving

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Most Read