An estimated 2000 people jammed the sidewalk and street in front of Temple Beth-El Tuesday night to pray, mourn and reflect on the massacre that took place Saturday at a Pittsburgh synagogue. In a horrific act of anti-Semitic violence, a gunman walked into the synagogue on Shabbat morning and killed 11 worshipers and wounded others including law-enforcement officers responding to the gunfire.
The Tuesday night gathering, organized by Birmingham’s synagogues and Jewish agencies, was highlighted by prayers, musical selections and remarks from religious leaders.
The City of Birmingham closed Highland Avenue to traffic to allow the program to take place outdoors. It was the most heavily attended Jewish gathering in memory.
“All Birminghamians are invited to join us in prayer, song and hope,” said a news release prior to the event. The program, titled “Stand with Pittsburgh: A Prayer Gathering for Shalom,” lived up to its billing. There was prayer, song, and, amid the sadness, hope, which is the Jewish way: A belief that in our times of tragedy and sadness we must affirm life.