It was a very violent week in America.
Beginning Wednesday with a shooting in Kentucky where two black people were targeted and killed, and ending Saturday with the killing of 11 Jews in Pittsburgh at a Synagogue during Saturday morning services.
Devastating crimes that are causing people of all races and religious backgrounds to mourn. Including people in our own community.
Gregory Bush, Cesar Sayoc and Robert Bowers. In 72 hours across America, these three men were arrested for crimes against not just their victims, but the groups those victims represent.
Targeted in their crimes: the African-American community, Democrats and Trump critics, and the Jewish community.
“When something like this happens, particularly to ones own family, we’re in shock,” said Rabbi Shmuel Schlenger of the Chabad Jewish Community Center in Bakersfield.
He and his Jewish community expressing complete shock and sadness, just two days after what is believed to be the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.
They aren’t the only ones who feel desperately sad over this and other hate crimes that happened last week. A lot of people in our community feel strongly about these acts of pointed violence. And they’re not taking it light.
Take 24-year-old Nathan Mayer for example. We met him just eating lunch Monday. But when we spoke to him about the tragedies in Kentucky and Pittsburgh, he had a lot to say about the discord in our nation.
“It’s heartbreaking to think of committing violence against an anonymous group of people who practice the Jewish faith or people who look different than me,” Mayer said. “I think it’s our responsibility as an American people to work to make these people feel safer in our communities. In our neighborhoods. In our churches. In our synagogues.”
In honor of the 11 lives lost in Saturday’s shooting, the Chabad Jewish Community Center is hosting a memorial prayer, where they will light candles for the victims. It starts at 7 o’clock Monday night at 6901 Ming Avenue and everyone in the community, Jewish or otherwise, is invited.