This evening in Falls Church, Virginia at Temple Rodef Shalom, 2,000-3,000 people from all faiths and walks of life gathered for a “Service of Comfort, Community and Solidarity for the Tree of Life” Synagogue in Pittsburgh. See below for a photo at the end of the candle lighting service for the victims, and also video of the end of the service [UPDATED Wednesday am – added full video, photos by Del. Mark Keam and statements by several folks]. Among the many elected officials present tonight were U.S. Sen. Mark Warner; State Senators Dick Saslaw, Barbara Favola and Adam Ebbin; Delegates Marcus Simon, Mark Keam (see his statement below), Eileen Filler-Corn (see her statement below), Jennifer Boysko, Mark Levine, Kathleen Murphy, Rip Sullivan; Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova; Fairfax County Board member Jeff McKay (see his statement below); Fairfax County School Board member Dalia Palchik (see her statement below); HD-40 Democratic candidate Dan Helmer (see his statement below); SD-35 Democratic State Senate candidate Yasmine Taeb (see her statement below); and probably several I missed. Very moving service…glad I was able to be there.
Del. Mark Keam:
Temple Rodef Shalom is a Reform Jewish congregation founded in 1962. Based in Falls Church, it serves nearly 2,000 households and is the largest Jewish congregation in Virginia.
Tonight, the Temple’s extended family became even larger, as thousands of Virginians, Marylanders, DC residents, and others gathered in an interfaith service to honor last week’s victims at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA.
As we mourned the tragic loss of lives, we also reaffirmed our commitment to fighting hate and bigotry wherever we find them, and to work with law enforcement and others to build a strong, loving and inclusive community in Virginia.
The service was a beautiful reminder that, regardless of which God we worship, our various faiths all teach us to love one another.
This is the last hymn we sang together — Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and others — all under the same roof of this beautiful temple:
I will build this world from love.
And you must build this world from love.
And if we build this world from love,
Then God will build this world from love.
Del. Eileen Filler-Corn:
Another moving vigil tonight this time at Temple Rodef Shalom. It truly was such a beautiful, diverse, uniting and welcoming program. It concluded with all members of clergy representing every religion gathering on the bima for prayer and song. Temple Rodef Shalom and their passionate clergy and members did a remarkable job bringing the community together. #StrongerThanHate
Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay:
Breathtaking display of thousands of people showing unity, strength, and diversity at Temple Rodef Shalom tonight. This is what the religious leaders of Fairfax County look like. All walks of life, all beliefs, and cultures united to beat hate and promote love. We are a strong community because of our differences and a stronger community when we embrace our neighbors.
Fairfax County School Board member Dalia Palchik:
This has been a tragic, frightening and disheartening week in our country. Sometimes if feels as if we’re fraying at the seams. However, tonight in Fairfax, we came together thanks to the work of our clergy and community at Temple Rodef Shalom. It was a beautiful and uniting service. I was especially moved to see our diverse clergy leaders from across faiths and backgrounds come together as #OneFairfax.
Democratic House of Delegates candidate (HD-40) Dan Helmer:
I have heard and prayed the Mourner’s Kaddish — the Jewish prayer for the dead — many times in 37 years. None were as beautiful as the Kaddish I heard tonight, spoken in unison by thousands of Virginians of every color and creed.
We will resist hate. Temple Rodef Shalom
Democratic State Senate candidate (SD-35) Yasmine Taeb:
A very beautiful and touching service of community and solidarity tonight at Temple Rodef Shalom for the Tree of Life congregation.