COLORADO SPRINGS – Before a standing room-only crowd, Rabbi Jay Sherwood delivered a simple message.
“It’s time to end hate speech and to show that we are better than hate. And love will always trump hate,” he said.
Sherwood, who serves as senior rabbi for Temple Shalom in Colorado Springs, repeated calls for peace and love during a vigil Monday night honoring the 11 Jews killed in the most recent mass shooting Saturday in Pittsburgh.
The victims were inside Tree of Life Synagogue for Saturday’s service.
“What a terrible thing to say we live in a country where there’s freedom of religion, and to have freedom of religion, we need to have security for our religion,” Sherwood said.
Through prayer and music, Temple Shalom became a house of remembrance and hope Monday night.
Sherwood said it’s important to share thoughts and prayers, but that words just are not enough.
“Jews in synagogue praying who were murdered. And we need to remember them, but we also need to call attention to the entire community that it’s time that we speak out against hate speech and we speak out against hate,” he said.
Rabbi Sherwood wasn’t the only faith leader to speak.
Pastor Ben Anderson from Solid Rock Christian Center and Spokesman Arshad Yousufi of the Islamic Society of Colorado Springs also delivered remarks before the congregation.
It was a sign of unity amid divisive times.
“It’s amazing. It’s something that should be. We shouldn’t be at each others’ throats. We shouldn’t be anti-anybody,” said Sharon Kushner, a member of Temple Shalom.
The vigil ran out of seating for all that chose to attend.
For Kushner, who was wearing a pin that honors the Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the lack of seating didn’t matter.
“This is my home away from home. I’m a dedicated member of Temple Shalom and I just really needed to be here,” Kushner.
She wasn’t alone. City leaders and elected officials, like Police Chief Pete Carey and City Council President Richard Skorman, joined the Jewish community for Monday’s vigil.
A group of diverse people joining together to remember victims from the latest mass shooting, hoping the violence will soon end.
“In this room tonight, there is no one correct religion. There is no one correct political party. It’s all of Colorado Springs coming together to say we have hope, and we want to be in a world where there’s love and not hate,” Sherwood said.