ROCKLAND — Hundreds of people from the Rockland area turned out Monday night to show their support for their Jewish brothers and sisters in the wake of a mass killing that claimed 11 lives at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Liz Snider, a board member for the Adas Yoshuron Synagogue in Rockland, acknowledged that turnout for the vigil was overwhelming. She said there were discussions of moving the vigil to another larger location but the decision was made to keep it at the synagogue.

“It was really important for us to open up our place of worship, to open our sanctuary,” she said.

The synagogue was filled to standing room only and hundreds more stood outside on Willow Street to listen via loudspeakers to the ceremony being held inside.

People of all faiths hugged each other and showed their support.

Synagogue board member Stuart Finkelstein spoke about the violence that claimed 11 lives at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

“Racist and anti-Semitic hate has no place anywhere in our country,” Finkelstein said.

He said the community is mourning the loss of the lives as well as keeping in their thoughts the injured that include the law enforcement officers who ran selflessly toward the gunfire.

“The victims of racism can be any minority group. On Saturday, it was Jews. Tomorrow it might be Muslims, African Americans, Latinos, or members of the LGBTQ community,” Finkelstein said.

Bigots do not feel good about themselves, he said, and cannot accept differences whether it be unfamiliar ideas or traditions.

“Diversity frightens them. They want to hear the only language they know – English. They forget that we are a nation that welcomes people of all races and creeds,” he said. “We are a nation built by immigrants. A nation enriched by refugees.”

The synagogue’s choir performed a moving rendition of the Jewish song Ani Ma’amin which translated means “I Believe.” The song was often sung by Jewish victims of the Holocaust as they were being led to the gas chambers.

Candles were lit for the 11 people killed in Pittsburgh.

Jamie Way of Damariscotta spoke about the Tree of Life Synagogue. She was born in Pittsburgh and attended the synagogue during the 18 years she lived there.

“We are all connected to this tragedy as Jews,” Way said.

She said the violence has created a ripple effect that hits everybody.


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.