On Friday, Nov. 2, synagogues across the United States held “Show Up For Shabbat,” which encouraged individuals of every faith to attend sabbath services at Jewish congregations. The purpose was to show unity after the horrific synagogue shooting that occurred one week prior in Pittsburgh, resulting in 11 deaths.
The “Show Up For Shabbat” service at Wellington’s Temple Beth Torah drew a large crowd from both the congregation and visitors. Among those who attended were Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig, Vice Mayor Michael Drahos, Councilman John McGovern, Wellington Village Manager Paul Schofield and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Rolando Silva.
Rabbi Andrew Rosenkranz gave an impassioned speech on the subject of violence and antisemitism, where he drew from poet Emma Lazarus and composer Irving Berlin.
“It has been difficult, but we’re here to comfort one another,” Rosenkranz said. “No matter what, shabbat happens. You can’t stop it.”
Rosenkranz went on to discuss the history of violence suffered by the Jewish people, as well as his own personal experiences dealing with antisemitism.
“Here we go again,” Rosenkranz said of his first reaction to learning of the Pittsburgh shooting. “Antisemitism is nothing new for our people. Indifference has no meaning in the lexicon of the American experience. I was called ‘Jew boy’ in the first grade in Tampa. Hatred isn’t something that you’re born with — it has to come from somebody, learned from somebody and taught from somebody.”
Rosenkranz went on to explain the difficulty of explaining the attack to Jewish children, particularly those who had not yet taken Holocaust studies.
“The hardest thing is to prematurely [explain] to a Jew what antisemitism is,” Rosenkranz said. “Being Jewish is beautiful.”
Rosenkranz closed on an optimistic tone for his congregation.
“I was asked, ‘Where do we go?’” Rosenkranz said. “We go forward. We are the people who delivered to the world the message ‘love thy neighbor as you love thyself.’ Tomorrow we go back to work. This too shall pass.”
Gerwig was given an opportunity to speak prior to the lighting of candles for each of the 11 fatalities in the Pittsburgh shooting.
“I’m honored to stand with you,” Gerwig said. “Love triumphs over hate. In Wellington, we count ourselves blessed that we take care of one another. In Wellington, we welcome everyone with open arms.”
Silva used his opportunity to speak to reassure Wellington’s Jewish community.
“It is my absolute privilege and honor to be here,” Silva said. “We’re all in this thing together to keep this community safe. Whatever it takes to keep this membership safe, we will do. Be at peace.”