Police, with unconcealed weapons, were present at the community event marking the first anniversary of the Pittsburgh shooting at Tree of Life, which killed 11 Jews at prayer, Oct. 27, 2018.
Jewish organizations and synagogues sponsored “One Year Later,” held at BMH-BJ, the evening of Oct. 27, 2019. and attended by more than 300 people. Forty-one sponsors were listed on the program.
The program began with the Glee Club of Denver JDS children singing the Star Spangled Banner and Hatikvah, under the direction of Rufina Feld.
Speakers included Ruth Malman, chair of JEWISHcolorado, a lead sponsor of the event; Eve Lieberman, chief policy advisor and legislative counsel to Gov. Jared Polis; Jason Dunn, US attorney for Colorado; and Phil Weiser, Colorado attorney general.
Dunn: “From Day 1 my job is to protect communities of worship. Not just your community. Christchuch happened [the March terrorist attack on Muslims in the New Zealand city]. I went to Boulder to speak to the Muslim community just like I am speaking to you now.”
Weiser quoted George Washington — “ . . . the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction . . . ” and Martin Luther King, Jr. — “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
A memorial service was led by Rabbi Yaakov Chaitovsky and Cantor Martin Goldstein of BMH-BJ. A brief remembrance of each of the 11 victims in Pittsburgh and of the victim in Poway, Calif. was offered by a wide spectrum of clergy in the community.
The main address was by Scott Levin, Mountain States regional director of ADL, which convened the program. Levin delivered his address in conjunction with a slide show.
Anti-Semitism is an ancient disease, he said. His theme was that untruths get widely disseminated and then become a trigger for violence.
His takeaway points included:
• You can do something about this.
• We have a lot to be proud of.
• Don’t let anti-Semitism defeat you.
• We have a lot of allies, and we must be an ally.
One of the attendees was Shelley Tuteur. She was asked: Do you feel safe here? Why is it important to be here?
“I feel as safe as I can let myself feel. You have to be prepared. I always look for the exits. These chairs in this room . . . there’s nowhere to duck and hide. But you can’t let it stop you, or they win. I never used to ask myself questions like this, but we need to be present and together. We need to show that nothing will hold us back.”
Dr. Heidi Tessler contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2019 by the Intermountain Jewish News