A Community-Wide Evening Held in Solidarity with Chabad of Poway
By Joannie Tansky
With Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein’s breaking voice filling the sanctuary at the Montreal Torah Center via video, over 600 people gathered to pay tribute and stand in solidarity with Chabad of Poway. Young and old, Jews from all over the city flocked to the Hampstead synagogue for the memorial service.
Rabbi Saul Emanuel, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Council, together with Mrs. Natou Suissa, Chief Development Officer, Federation CJA and Rabbi Moishe New spiritual leader of the MTC were the main organizers of the event. Together with Federation and the Jewish Community Council, Chabad Lubavitch of Montreal and the Vaad Harabonim of Montreal brought the community together, hours after the end of Passover.
Mrs. Lori Gilbert Kaye of righteous memory, one of the founders of Chabad of Poway, stood between the shooter and her beloved Rabbi Goldstein, taking the deadly bullet for him. His passionate message of hope after facing a rifle-wielding assassin and witnessing the death of a beloved member of his congregation was both uplifting and heart-wrenching. Rabbi Goldstein repeatedly said that the only way to fight evil is with light. That no one should be deterred or intimidated by anti-Semitism.
Despite the numbers present, everyone sat quietly, respectfully and introspectively as leaders from almost every sector of the Jewish community addressed them.
Rabbi Moishe New, the master of ceremonies, opened the evening by saying that, as a community, we have been brought together too many times by such tragedies. Only six months ago, a memorial evening was held for the eleven victims of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shootings.
Rabbi Berl Mockin, head of Chabad Lubavitch of Montreal and the Skevere Dayan, Rabbi Yochanan Wosner, both elder statesmen of their respectful communities, recited tehillim (psalms). With dignity, the two rabbis said the verses line by line as the assembled quietly repeated the words.
Chief Rabbi of Montreal, Rabbi Binyomin Weiss spoke strongly about the ongoing task of Jews, both individually and collectively. That we must not to cower in the face of anti-Semitism, rather it is more important than ever to stand together, in unity, as one people in observance of our collective Judaism.
Rabbi David Sabbah, Chief Rabbi of Montreal Sephardic community, spoke in French again imploring those present to not only hold steadfast in their faith, but to increase in their acts of goodness and kindness.
Mr. David Amiel, President of Federation CJA began talking with a stark observation: That yet again he had to explain to his children that there was another attack on a synagogue and yet again he was going to speak publicly on behalf of CJA to honor heroes and those murdered.
He passionately concluded with the message that as a people we have survived centuries of other countries wanting us to disappear, yet we are still here, stronger and more vibrant than ever.
Rabbi Saul Emanuel empowered the crowded room, telling everyone that it is the Torah that has kept the Jews steadfast and strong, able to withstand the tests and challenges over our long history.
Being attacked in a synagogue on Shabbos, in our generation is unthinkable, and yet it has happened more than once. The message for every Jew, no matter where he or she lives in the world is to ignite the flame within us, to revitalize ourselves and in turn, revitalize others. The more they hate, the more we must do to unite each other with acts of goodness and kindness.
We must make our collective world a better place for all of humanity. He emotionally said that Mrs. Lori Gilbert Kaye of righteous memory should serve to be an inspiration to everyone. There is so much more work to do and we cannot do alone. Together we can transform the world into a place of peace for all mankind.
Rabbi Mordechai Zeitz, Rabbi Emeritus of the Beth Tikvah Congregation, emotionally addressed those in attendance in disbelief that he was again speaking about a terrorist attack on a Jewish institution. He went to elucidate that in the end, it will be the Jew who will be left standing, stronger than ever until a time when Moshiach will bring an everlasting peace to the world.
Rabbi Mark Fishman, present Rabbi of the Beth Tivkah Congregation, emotionally recited the mi sheberach, a public prayer for the health and well-being of congregations.
May He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, bless this entire holy congregation, together with them, their wives, their sons and their daughters, and all that belongs to them.
Those who establish synagogues for prayer and those who come there to pray, those who provide lights for illumination, wine for Kiddush and Havdalah, food for the wayfarers and charity for the needy and all those who occupy themselves faithfully with communal affairs.
May the Holy One, Blessed be He, give them their reward, remove from them sickness, heal their entire body, pardon all their sins and send blessings and success to all their endeavors, together with all Israel and their Brethren and let us say, Amen.
May the Holy Soul of Mrs. Lori Gilbert Kaye – Leah bat Reuven rest in peace and may her family know of no more sorrow. Amein.