Chicago Religious, Civil Rights Leaders Call For Unity After Synagogue Attack

Lisa Fielding
October 29, 2018 - 3:45 pm
DuSable Museum Synagogue Conference

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- On the steps of the DuSable Museum Monday, the names of the 11 murdered in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history were read aloud.

"David Rosenthal, 54, Cecile Rosenthal, 59, Richard Godfried, 65," reads Allison Pure-Slovin, Director of the Midwest Region of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

"This is the lowest time for Jews in my lifetime," she said. "I am not ashamed. I have nothing to hide. I am proud of my religious and I am proud of my heritage and I am proud to stand here with my friends from the African American community, from different backgrounds, from faith leaders, from the Muslim community who stand with us against hate."

Pure-Slovin was speaking at a meeting of Chicago's faith leaders, who gathered at the DuSable museum on the South Side to condemn the Saturday mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 and wounded others, including three police officers. The group called for unity and and end to hate and an end to hate and isolation.

"God bless who speak out in the name of peace, which we all so desperately desire and need," said Rabbi Zvi Engel, Chicago Rabbinical Association. "To echo of the words of so many of my colleagues here today who are engaged in the work of trying to help society, to recall it's lost civil discourse, watch your language, be among the upright, be among the welcoming, be those among who bring more light into the world."

Rabbi Abraham Kagen said his community is in shock following the attack.

"What comes to mind. There are no words, such a henious crime against innocent Jewish people simply because they were Jewish, nothing more, nothing less," he said. "What is comforting the last couple of days is the outpouring of love and support.The voice of saying not here, not in this United States, we will not let this happen."

Helil Demar with the Zakat Foundation said the current climate of hate and intolerance needs to stop.

"If we don't stand with these folk and we don't stand for the peace and justice, if we don't stand against the hatred, then we cannot call this the United States of America," he said. "We cannot see our Jewish brothers and sisters and hysteria of Islamaphobia, fear conquer our hearts. It's your turn to stand up for justice and for peace."

Leaders said more must be done about anti Semitism around the world and that the Squirrel Hill tragedy must be a wake up call to the world about hate and intolerance.

"A little bit of light can dispel much darkeness," Kagen said. "I implore everyone watching this, do something good, do something kind, reach out to the neighbor, the co-worker, be kind, let's break hate by spreading love."