PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh’s Jewish community came together over the weekend to organize a menorah lighting in Squirrel Hill to show pride in their faith and support for the victims of a stabbing attack in New York City.
Five people were injured just outside of New York City on Saturday when an intruder entered a rabbi’s home and began stabbing people at a Hanukkah celebration.
Police arrested 37-year-old Grafton Thomas on Sunday and charged him with five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary.
KDKA’s Chris Hoffman Reports:
Rochel Tombosky, the organizer of the menorah lighting, woke up in Pittsburgh to the news.
“It’s a shock, there’s no words,” she said. “I was feeling self-conscious about myself and when this happened, I just realized like there’s no place for us to feel self-conscious about ourselves. We need to stand up.”
She and two others organized a last-minute menorah lighting on Murray Avenue and Beacon Street in Squirrel Hill.
People filled the street corner in the pouring rain, saying they won’t hide after another attack on their community.
“We’re standing in solidarity with our Jewish brothers in New York to show that, hey, it’s not going to stop us,” said Simcha Teich, from Brooklyn, New York. “We’re going to come out and we’re going to celebrate a holiday of light no matter what happens.”
Gabe Kramer, a speaker at the event reiterated the statement.
“…the kind of world where you can feel safe and be free to be whoever you want is also a world where it’s safe to be a Jew,” he said. “That’s the kind of world we want to fight for. That’s what we’re standing up for. It shows that this is a community that comes together, a community that knows what it’s like to see anti-semitic hatred and violent racism, but a community that knows it needs to stand in solidarity with whoever is under attack.”
Pittsburgh Public Safety gave a statement on the recent string of attacks against the Jewish community in New York.
“Public Safety is aware of the attacks in New York against members of the Jewish community,” Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said. “The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Intelligence Unit is and will continue to monitor the situation.”
“While we cannot discuss specifics in terms of preparation, we are in communication with local law enforcement agencies and will work to ensure safety for all.”
Anti-Semitism has been a relevant topic in Pittsburgh since the Tree of Light shooting in 2018. Rallies about hate speech and discriminatory attitudes towards the Jewish community have been held over the last year, and the phrase “Stronger Than Hate” is a popular way of referencing the city’s fight against discrimination.