Attendants Tuesday heard prayers, songs, and inspirational words across cultures and languages, some of which coming from Tree of Life synagogue.
Temple Emanuel’s usual seating filled up more than a half hour before the service was supposed to start, and overflow seating was taken not soon after that.
The names of Pittsburgh’s eleven victims were listed at the sanctuary’s entrance, and Temple Emanuel’s Rabbi read a short bio for each one, followed by the lighting of a ceremonial candle.
She and the rest of the set of speakers communicated a similar message in many different ways – turn your anger and confusion into sympathy and action, and use this opportunity to get closer with loved ones, not further away.
“Prayer and obligation must spur us to action – as a people, as a community, and as a nation,” said Beth Israel Synagogue Rabbi Jama Purser.
“The believers in mutual love, mercy, and sympathy are just like a body – when one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds,” added another speaker.
On top of the speakers representing a variety of religions, attendants were diverse in race, faith, age, and more, coming together — if only for 90 minutes — for a common cause.