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Denver comes together in grief and solidarity after the mass shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue

This Sun­day night at Tem­ple Emanuel was unusual.

For one thing, there were around 2,500 peo­ple in the build­ing, which would be quite a lot for a Sat­ur­day, let alone a Sun­day. The enor­mous, beau­ti­ful assem­bly hall seats about 1,800.

For another thing, Denver’s old­est syn­a­gogue was packed with Chris­tians, Mus­lims, Sikhs, athe­ists and oth­ers with a com­mon cause.

They came to honor the lives of Joyce Fien­berg, Richard Got­tfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabi­nowitz, Cecil Rosen­thal, David Rosen­thal, Ber­nice Simon, Syl­van Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax and Irv­ing Younger — the 11 peo­ple killed while pray­ing Sat­ur­day morn­ing in an anti­se­mitic attack on the Tree of Life Con­gre­ga­tion in the Squir­rel Hill neigh­bor­hood of Pittsburgh.

They came too in sol­i­dar­ity with the six oth­ers who were injured, with the Jew­ish com­mu­nity of Pitts­burgh, with the Jew­ish com­mu­nity of Den­ver and with Jews across the country.

Bob Jones, spe­cial agent in charge of the Pitts­burgh office of the FBI, told our col­leagues at The Incline that what law enforce­ment found in the after­math of the shoot­ing was “the most hor­rific crime scene I’ve seen in 22 years with the FBI.”

In a state­ment released Sat­ur­day after­noon, Anti-Defamation League Moun­tain States regional direc­tor Scott L. Levin said, “This is likely the dead­liest attack on the Jew­ish com­mu­nity in the his­tory of the United States.”

And so Den­verites gath­ered in a syn­a­gogue Sun­day night, bathed for a while in fad­ing sun­light through stained glass, to sup­port, reflect and rally.

“We are all bound together by our grief, shock and hor­ror,” Rabbi Joseph Black told the crowd.

That much was reflected in remarks through­out the night, which came from Levin, Gov­er­nor John Hick­en­looper, Den­ver Mayor Michael Han­cock, Den­ver Police Chief Paul Pazen, Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz, Inter­faith Alliance exec­u­tive direc­tor the Rev. Amanda Hen­der­son, Col­orado Sikhs direc­tor Dil­preet Jammu, Col­orado Mus­lim Soci­ety gen­eral coun­sel Qusair Mohamedb­hai, JEW­ISH­col­orado CEO Rabbi Jay Strear and Rocky Moun­tain Rab­bini­cal Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Rabbi Solomon Gruenwald.

Between prayers and songs, each speaker offered words of grief, shock and hor­ror as well as sym­pa­thy, sup­port and solidarity.

“On behalf of all Col­orado Sikhs, let me say that we are truly sorry,” Jammu said.

Speak­ing just after him, Mohamedb­hai added, “We’ve been where you are. … It’s hard to describe, but our hearts are filled and bro­ken at the same time.”

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