Scores Gather for ‘Healing Service’ at Pittsburgh Synagogue

Rabbi Chuck Diamond, center, a former rabbi at the Tree of Life synagogue, hugs a woman after leading a Shabbat service outside Tree of Life, Nov. 3, 2018, in Pittsburgh. On Oct. 27, 11 people were killed and six wounded when a gunman attacked them in the synagogue.

PITTSBURGH (VOA News) — Parents clutched their children, couples leaned on each other and bystanders wept Saturday as about 100 people gathered in a steady drizzle outside the desecrated Tree of Life synagogue for what a former rabbi called a healing service, one week after the worst attack targeting Jews in U.S. history.

Rabbi Chuck Diamond led a service of prayers, songs and poetry and reminisced about some of the worshippers killed, as Show Up for Shabbat services honoring the 11 dead and six wounded were held at synagogues across the United States.

“I almost expected Cecil to greet me this morning,” Diamond said of Cecil Rosenthal, 59, killed along with his brother, David, 54, in the Oct. 27 shooting at Tree of Life in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Diamond called the victims “angels given to us, full of love and life.”

In the past week, people told him of weddings, bar mitzvahs and other ceremonies they’ve held at the synagogue. “This is a place, a building that has stood for joy, but now it is forever stained,” Diamond said. But the shooting “cannot overshadow [that] this building is and will be into the future a place of joy.”

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