By Daniel Gaitan
In response to what is believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, the McHenry County Jewish Congregation, 8617 Ridgefield Road, Crystal Lake, will host a community Shabbat and vigil at 7 p.m. Friday.
“All faiths are welcome to join us in lighting candles and coming together in prayer for our Jewish family in Pittsburgh, and for all those who have experienced violence,” congregation membership chairwoman Linda Blatchford said in a statement. “May God grant our people both the strength to help each other during this time of mourning and the fortitude to rebuild together. May decent people the world over join together with us to foster kindness and love between communities.”
Attendees will gather to honor the men and women slain Saturday at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.
On Nov. 3, the McHenry County Jewish Congregation will participate in a solidarity Shabbat, an initiative of Jewish United Fund’s Rabbinic Action Committee. It’s part of a national effort “to pray, to mourn and to strengthen one another,” according to the congregation’s website. The event will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the center.
“Shabbat was taken from us in the name of hate; we must reclaim Shabbat in the name of love. We hope you will find it meaningful to participate with local congregations,” Blatchford said.
The man accused of the massacre appeared in federal court Monday to face charges in connection with killing 11 people. Robert Gregory Bowers, 46, was ordered held without bail before a preliminary hearing Thursday, when prosecutors will outline their case against him.
Federal prosecutors set in motion plans to seek the death penalty against him. Authorities said he expressed hatred of Jews during the rampage and told police, “I just want to kill Jews.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.