Memorial service at Middletown synagogue in memory of shooting victims
For the first time since a deadly synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people, the Jewish community returned to worship on Thursday in an interfaith memorial service at Temple Shalom in Middletown.
Members of the congregation were just shattered knowing that the people were killed because of their faith.
But the message was clear on Thursday: Stop the hate.
President of Temple Shalom Michael Mendell said the attack was a painful chapter, but his synagogue has been the target of threats in the past.
"We have to make a judgment call and we have to go forward. We've been dealing with this since the day we moved into this building," he said. "Ye, of course we're concerned. It's something that we have on our minds frequently."
Thursdays are not a normal worship day for the synagogue, and members like Martha Ullman admitted she was a bit uneasy her first time back since the attack.
"I would like to think this is a rarity and this won't happen again, but it's happened way too often in the last few years," she said.
The service was led by cantor Fred Scheff who said that bringing the community of different faiths together sends a message that hate will never win.
"Blend our voices and our souls and our faiths together to move towards unity; to move towards peace," he said.
Synagogue leaders requested Middletown Police to be outside the service for added protection.