COLORADO SPRINGS – For one synagogue in Colorado Springs, the hateful rhetoric and aggression against Jews is all too familiar.
Just last year, they, too, were targeted simply for being a Jewish place of worship.
While it was upsetting back then, the synagogue’s leader says it pales in comparison to what’s happening today.
“In our case, it was an irritant, in this case people lost their lives for no apparent reason other than hatred,” said Jeff Ader, president of the board of Temple Beit Torah.
Even more worrisome, he says, the fact that any group can now become a target.
“Today it was a synagogue, today it was people who follow the Jewish religion but yesterday it was pipe bombs going to people who disagree with President Trump,” he explained. “Tomorrow it could be Catholics. The next day it could be Muslims.”
For Ader, Saturday’s shooting at Tree of Life synagogue hits close to home.
“It’s very shocking and very sad,” he said. “It’s horrifying, it’s a monstruous act.”
In this case of Temple Beit Torah’s act of hate, the Colorado Springs community stepped up to show their support, rallying in a movement called “Love Lives Here.”
“I think it created a lot of faith and a lot of appreciation that we live amongst really good people,” Ader remarked.
Ader hopes the message of inclusuion will replace the rhetoric leaders use today.
“I wish our political leaders would stop making violent behavior laudable.”
The last thing he wants is for these lives to be lost in vain.
“It’s tragic to lose one’s life, certainly in a violent situation but it would be more tragic for that lesson that comes out of this tragedy to be wasted.”
Temple Beit Torah has already reached out to the Tree of Life synagogue to find out how they can assist them.
Right now, they say it’s too early to know what they can do to help, but once they get an idea, they’re ready to organize efforts to do so.