Two days after a Pittsburgh synagogue shooting left 11 dead and six injured, the Loudoun community came together Monday night to mourn the loss of life.
A standing-room-only crowd representing all different religions and backgrounds packed into the Congregation Sha’are Shalom Synagogue in Leesburg for a “Fighting Hate with Faith” vigil to reflect on Saturday’s tragedy.
In attendance at the vigil were community leaders and elected officials including Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10), Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk, State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-33), Leesburg Police Chief Greg Brown and Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman.
Opening the ceremony, Rabbi David Greenspoon noted that, while the shooting occurred at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the impact in some ways was felt by his own congregation. He also thanked the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office for sending two deputies to his synagogue on Saturday after hearing that there was an active shooter at anther Jewish congregation 220 miles away.
“We gather in mourning for the innocent victims of hate,” he said. “Tonight we answer hate with statements of faith.”
Burk followed Greenspoon, too choked up at first to get her words out.
“I can’t believe that we’re here … mourning another shooting,” she said. “The martyrs of Squirrel Hill are walking with us now, waiting for us to do something.”
Herring, a Leesburg resident, emphasized that he would continue to protect Virginia.
“I want to thank you so much for being here,” he said. “That’s what communities of faith do—they support each other.”
The All Dulles Area Muslim Society BEAT Choir followed the speakers, singing Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” with most of those in attendance at the standing-room-only vigil signing along.