Hundreds of supporters from across the community gathered on Wednesday, August 12, to show support for Kesher Israel Congregation and the Jewish community after two swastikas were painted on Kesher Israel’s building.
Harrisburg Rabbis Elisha Friedman, Ron Muroff, and Peter Kessler all shared messages of thanks, encouragement, and acceptance with the crowd gathered on North Third Street.
Rabbi Friedman of Kesher Israel Congregation noted that while the two markings were small and could have been created in a matter of moments, it took hours to remove them from the building.
“It is easier to inflict harm than build community,” he said. “But we have more people here than could have been responsible for this atrocity.”
Rabbi Muroff of Chisuk Emuna Congregation implored community members to hear this year’s shofar sounding as a “wake-up” call.
“What each of us does effects everyone else,” he said. “We have to wake up and talk to each other respectively, constructively, and across all of our nations divides and work together for justice and equality for all.”
Rabbi Kessler of Temple Ohev Sholom commended attendees for working toward acceptance amongst all.
“The people who love one another – we are America,” he said. “If you don’t care that other people may think differently than you, but you respect them and love them – then you are a part of America.”
The vigil was organized by the Mayor’s Interfaith Advisory Council. Additional speakers included Harrisburg Police Commissioner Thomas Carter, Representative Patty Kim, Pastor Russel Goodman, Pastor James Jackson, and Tameka Hatcher of the PA Human Relations Council.