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For Akron Jewish Community, Pittsburgh Attack Too Close to Home

photo of Temple Israel chalk drawings
Brown said members of the congregation were comforted with chalk drawings like the one pictured here.

The deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue over the weekend has left local Jewish communities searching for answers. An Akron rabbi said his congregation is still in shock but looking to take action.

Rabbi Josh Brown from Temple Israel said the tragedy at Tree of Life was very real and painful for his Akron congregation. Some had previously attended the Pittsburgh synagogue and lost family members in Saturday’s attack.

“This is not just seeing terrible images; this is getting a phone call that your aunt was murdered while she was praying in the Shabbat morning service,” he said.

Rabbi Brown said members were comforted by chalk drawings, notes and candles left at the front door of the Akron synagogue Sunday morning. He said temple leaders are considering increasing building security during regular services, which is not an easy decision to make.

“It comes at a great expense. I would say an expense financially, but it also comes at a great expense that we are focusing our time focusing on security, rather than focusing on building hope and love,” he said.

Community members can show their support at a vigil Thursday night at the Shaw JCC campus and this weekend at the Akron Temple Israel’s Arts and Food Festival.