'Hate is not accepted in this community:' Vigil set for York after synagogue mass shooting
"York Vigil against Hate" is set to take place on Monday at 8 p.m. at York City Hall.
People will hold a vigil wion Monday in York County to speak out against hate and support the Jewish community following a shooting that left 11 dead and six wounded at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“York Vigil against Hate” is set to take place at 8 p.m. at York City Hall.
If the weather is bad, the event will be moved to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York, which is on South George Street near Rathton Road. Details are still subject to change.
“Pittsburgh is not that far from here. And I think it’s important that the community create awareness of the reality of the world in which we live, in which people are being shot outside of synagogues,” said the Rev. Christopher Rodkey, pastor at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Dallastown, who’s helping to organize the vigil.
“But also to say to our neighbors who are Jewish in this community that we stand with them, and hate is not accepted in this community,” he added.
On Saturday, Robert Bowers, 46, burst into the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood shouting “All Jews must die!” and opened fire, law enforcement said. He's been charged with 29 federal counts, including hate crimes that carry a potential death sentence.
The vigil was put together in a few hours after a mass email went out to many faith leaders in York County, Rodkey said. Ken Woerthwein, he said, came up with the idea.
Woerthwein said it's important for people here to be supportive not only of the Jewish community in York County, but throughout the United States, following the mass shooting.
Hate and discrimination are an unfortunate part of our country and culture, he said.
“What we need to do is strive for respect and acceptance and love of everyone as our new norm for our country, for our culture, for our society," said Woerthwein, who's involved in a number of organizations in York County that deal with social justice and combating discrimination in all its forms.
Rodkey said it’s important for the faith community — especially white Christians — to change the language and discourse. It might be controversial, he said, but anti-Semitism is “our problem.”
He also said it’s a mistake to blame one person, including President Donald Trump. Anti-Semitism, he said, is “part of a larger cultural problem that’s been around for a long time.”
“Acting like it’s something new makes it easier to take the blame off myself and my own community about what’s going on,” Rodkey said.
In a Facebook post, the City of York wrote, “Our thoughts are with the people of Pittsburgh and the Jewish community across the world.”
“We stand with our Jewish neighbors,” the York NAACP wrote in a separate Facebook post. “We mourn the loss of lives, of innocence, and of Democracy.”
—USA TODAY contributed reporting to this article.
Contact Dylan Segelbaum at 717-771-2102.
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