Rabbi vows Pittsburgh synagogue massacre ‘will not break us’

People hug after a vigil, to remember the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue the day before, at the Allegheny County Soldiers Memorial on October 28, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. - A man suspected of bursting into a Pittsburgh synagogue during a baby-naming ceremony and gunning down 11 people has been charged with murder, in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in recent US history. The suspect -- identified as a 46-year-old Robert Bowers -- reportedly yelled "All Jews must die" as he sprayed bullets into the Tree of Life synagogue during Sabbath services on Saturday before exchanging fire with police, in an attack that also wounded six people. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh- Rabbis of the Pittsburgh synagogue where a gunman massacred 11 worshipers during Sabbath prayers urged mourners at an interfaith memorial service on Sunday to embrace tolerance and unity, while the mayor vowed to “defeat hate with love.”

The funeral service took place at the University of Pittsburgh’s Soldiers and Sailors Hall, with an overflow crowd of over 2 500 people, as many speakers spoke of inclusion and criticized the political climate, saying it was toxic.

Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers chanted “vote” from the audience as he called on political leaders, starting with “those in the room,” to help put an end to hate speech.

“My words are not intended as political,” he said from the stage. “My mother always taught me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.”

“What happened yesterday will not break us. It will not ruin us. We will continue to thrive and sing and worship and learn together and continue our historic legacy in the city with the friendliest people that I know,” said Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, choking back tears.

The service, “Stronger Together” opened with a performance by a Baptist gospel choir and included remarks by Christian and Muslim clergy.

The service was largely led by Meyers and two fellow rabbis representing the three Jewish congregations who used the synagogue targeted in Saturday’s deadly attack.

“This is the darkest hour in our city’s history,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto declared during Sunday’s service.

“But here’s another thing about Pittsburgh. We are resilient. We will work together as one. We will defeat hate with love. We will be a city of compassion and we will be welcoming to all people,” he said to cheers.

Video credit- YouTube

Photo credit- Time

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