Tree of Life massacre

To show solidarity with Pittsburgh, this group is asking people to #ShowUpForShabbat

The American Jewish Committee is organizing the effort.

Mourners visit Tree of Life on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018.

Mourners visit Tree of Life on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018.

Cara Owsley / USA TODAY Network
Sarah Anne Hughes

Memorials, fundraising efforts, and vigils are just a few of the ways that communities across the world are showing solidarity with Pittsburgh in the wake of a massacre inside the Tree of Life Synagogue.

The American Jewish Committee has another idea: #ShowUpForShabbat.

“AJC is calling on Jewish communities across the country — along with elected officials, religious and civic leaders, and other allies, both Jewish and non-Jewish — to flock to synagogues this coming Shabbat,” a message from the group states. Shabbat begins at sundown Friday and ends Saturday at nightfall, and services take place on both days.

“When something like this happens, people of goodwill want to do something,” Marcia Bronstein, regional director of AJC Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey, told The Incline. “We decided if synagogues could open their doors to community members, religious leaders, diplomats, city council people, and members of different churches and faith groups, it would be a way for people to come together and for some healing to take place.”

On Saturday, a gunman killed 11 people worshipping inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill. The suspect, Robert Bowers, expressed hatred toward Jews after being taken into custody. He is charged with federal hate crimes punishable by death.

Just hours after the massacre, hundreds of people gathered near Tree of Life to remember the victims. The following evening, members of several faith communities joined elected officials to mourn.

“Any attack on any religious group is an attack on everybody,” Bronstein said. “Anti-Semitism is an illness, it’s a cancer, and nobody has a monopoly on hate. Tragically, we see that all too often in our society.”

Bronstein said AJC has been connecting community members who want to show solidarity with synagogues that will welcome them. That includes a diplomat from the Netherlands who will attend services in central Pennsylvania.

Because of security concerns, AJC is not publishing a list of synagogues that are participating in #ShowUpForShabbat. People interested in participating can call their nearest regional office for assistance. Bronstein added that AJC has contacted law enforcement to ensure the safety of people who want to come out and worship.

The hashtag #ShowUpForShabbat “has created a lot of traction on social media,” Bronstein said. “We’re hearing from so many people that they’re going to come out.”