More than 100 people gathered at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights on Friday, Nov. 2, to celebrate the Jewish Shabbat and send a message that communities should find strength in each other and persevere.
“A habitual response is to retreat and build up walls and hide,” said Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, who led the Shabbat service, about recent acts of anti-Semitism across the country. “That’s a threat to our democracy and to our safety is to retreat.”
Jews, Christians, Muslims and the non-religious held hands, recited Jewish prayers and chanted progressive mantras like “We are all welcome here” and “We will outlive them.” Regardless of religious belief, all who attended were there in solidarity and all who spoke mentioned that now was not the time to be silent and grow resentful. Instead, it is the time for oppressed communities to come together and not let hatred prevail.
On Oct. 27, 46-year-old Pennsylvania man Robert Bowers walked into The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and shot and killed 11 people attending the bris of an adopted child of a same-sex couple. Bowers allegedly shouted anti-Semitic remarks before opening fire. The mass shooting came shortly after two other acts of hate, the delivery of multiple bombs to various left-leaning politicians and celebrities and the murder of two black Kentuckians outside of Louisville.
“Solidarity is safety,” said Roksana Mun, director of Strategy and Training at DRUM. “In these tragedies there are efforts to divide these communities. But we can protect each other without hurting other communities.”