The Jewish community in Chicago and the suburbs are on alert after hearing about Saturday’s fatal attack on a synagogue that left 11 dead in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
An interfaith vigil is being held in Skokie Monday night, to commemorate the innocent lives lost in yet another senseless shooting in America history.
“This is a time that we as Jews feel vulnerable and it’s a time for us to come together as a community," said Rabbi Ari Hart of Skokie Valley Synagogue.
Rabbi Art Hart and Rabbi Michael Weinberg are hosting Monday’s vigil.
“We’ll pay tribute to victims, wish a speedy recovery to first responders and others injured and we’ll also speak out against hate," Rabbi Michael Weinberg of Temple Beth Israel said.
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Hate is something the Executive Vice President of the Jewish United Fund, Jay Tcath, says is all too familiar. Tcath stresses the fact that although hate crime has recently dominated headlines, this is an issues the Jewish community faces on a daily basis.
"It is very frustrating that our Jewish United Fund needs to invest over $5 million a year on security,” said Tcath. “Those are dollars that should be going to healthcare, vocational training and education."
An unfortunate reality sets in when hate turns into violence—synagogues and other institutions need to be prepared and increase their security measures to ensure maximum safety.
“While we have the attention of institutions and individuals…(this can) remind them to create a security plan if they haven't done so, to review their existing one and consider any new measures that can make their institution safer for the staff, the volunteers and the clients they serve," said Tcath.
Chicago police say they are monitoring synagogues throughout the city, though many individuals in the community say they’re finding ways to tackle hate.
“Regardless of the source of hatred, regardless of who the target of hatred is we can never contextualize or rationalize bigotry,” expressed Tcath. “It's always wrong, no matter who is the hater and who is the hated."