As in many communities across America, residents of my new home town, Myrtle Beach, SC, came together to pray and to remember the victims of the horrific massacre last Saturday at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Some 200 local residents attended the vigil at the Holocaust Memorial, located in the Market Commons area of the city. Speakers talked about unity and the need to come together when such tragedies occur. Truthfully, that should always be the case -- not only in the aftermath of tragedies when we all are full of sympathy.
Said Lily Ann Revitch, president of the congregation at Temple Shalom, "I think every community, every community across the country needs to acknowledge what happened. Even what happened in Charleston a couple of years ago, we all acknowledged that. We all acknowledge it's a tragedy when this happens."
She added, "You can't go around blaming the White House, the President, the Congress or anybody. It's just the person. There's a lot of very sick people in this world."
"If you don't have anybody there, if you don't have your family, you don't have your community, then you shutter and lock yourself in the house out of fear. So this brings out from the shadows, and we just are a community and we stand with everybody else as they stand with us."
The vigil was organized by Temple Emmanu-El and Chabad of Myrtle Beach. Local politicians spoke and there were readings, songs of praise and mourning and candles were lit for each victim who died in the shooting.
Those victims were:
Rose Mallinger, 97
Melvin Wax, 88
Sylvan Simon, 86
Bernice Simon, 84
Joyce Fienberg, 75
Daniel Stein, 69
Irving Younger, 69
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
Richard Gottfried, 65
Cecil Rosenthal, 59
David Rosenthal, 54
The shooter, Robert Bowers, 46, faces 44 charges in the case, including murder, hate crimes, firearms violations and causing injury to police officers. He could face the death penalty. His motive was simply a hatred of Jews.