Santa Barbarans gathered Monday evening in De la Guerra Plaza to mourn the 11 members of the Tree of Life synagogue who were murdered in Pittsburgh on Saturday. The vigil, organized by Mayor Cathy Murillo and members of the city’s Youth Council, was a solemn condemnation of the rising trends of gun violence and anti-Semitism in the country. “No words can truly express the loss that the community feels when something like this happens,” said one of the members of the Youth Council, a group that advocates for stricter gun control legislation, among other issues.
A reading of the victims’ names — Irving Younger (69), Melvin Wax (88), Rose Mallinger (97), Bernice (84) and Sylvan Simon (86), Jerry Rabinowitz (66), Joyce Fienberg (75), Richard Gottfried (65), Daniel Stein (71), and brothers Cecil (59) and David Rosenthal (54) — was by Jilli Spear of the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara and was followed by a moment of silence. “Anti-Semitism and xenophobia infects society and creates tragedies, not only for Jews, but for all of humanity,” said Carly Newman, committee member of the Jewish Federation’s Young Adult Division. “We will not rest until the last remnant of such hatred is eradicated from our midst.”
The shooting that occurred in Pittsburgh, according to Adam Weiss, chair of the Jewish Community Relation Committee, went beyond issues of gun violence and political ideology. “It happened just because they were Jewish — a classic act of anti-Semitism. And like any other form of racism, it is just un-American.”