By David Highfield

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Friday evening marked the first Sabbath since last weekend’s shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue that killed 11 people.

Jewish leaders encouraged people of all faiths to attend Shabbat services as a sign of solidarity and support.

Members of the Tree of Life Synagogue gathered in a private area at Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Shadyside.

(Photo Credit: David Highfield/KDKA)

But in a public service at Rodef Shalom, about 1,200 people of various faiths came together.

Among the crowd were Tom and Jean Cox, who are Presbyterians from Penn Hills.

“You just feel it so strongly that I’ve got be physically there with you. It has to be that, they have to be able to see that you do not stand alone,” Jean Cox said.


Security was noticeable Friday evening and some bags were searched.

Rabbi Aaron Bisno said the people coming together had something in common: “Those who want to stand against hate. Who appreciate what happened this time last week at our Shabbat six days ago, that’s just not who we are as community. That’s not who we are are as a country.”

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Given that Fred Rogers’ real neighborhood was where the shooting happened in Squirrel Hill, the rabbi put on a sweater and then asked Fred Rogers’ widow, Joanne, to say a few words.

Of course, her message was one of reassurance. In part, she conveyed to the crowd: “How wonderful you are. How beautiful you are.”

David Highfield