Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting: Dayton Jewish community gathers to show support

Members of The Greater Dayton Jewish Community gathered tonight at Temple Israel in Dayton to show support for Jewish communities in Pittsburgh after Saturday’s devastating shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

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Robert Bowers, 46, is accused of killing 11 worshipers and wounding six others, including four police officers after opening fire in the synagogue.

The gathering, streamed live on the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton’s Facebook page, was attended by more than 1,000 people.

Rabbi Ari Ballaban felt the gathering was a way for the community to heal and regain feelings of safety in the United States, something he never felt was an issue until Saturday.

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“All of us in the Jewish community are thinking ‘that could be us,’” Ballaban said. “Saturday shook a lot of people but tonight was evidence that Dayton is a beautiful community. Jews in this area and around the world are learning that we are not alone.”

Several police officers attended as a means of security, an extra factor Ballaban described as “an important piece of this event” to provide reassurance.

“I can’t put into words what the police have done for us. They showed up in numbers to prove they care and we are grateful.”

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Attendees signed cards and provided donations for funeral expenses, therapy, counseling and other needs the federation will send to Pittsburgh.

“We want to overwhelm them with love. We can’t undo what was done, but we can help them to move forward,” Ballaban said.

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