Northern Michigan Jewish Community Reacts to Synagogue Attacks

Saturday, a gunman killed 11 people in an attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

It’s one of the deadliest attacks on Jewish Americans in history.

Jewish people in Northern Michigan are speaking out about the attack, calling it devastating and alarming.

“It’s so sad and its happening all the time with the schools and the churches and now its us,” said Nancy who belongs to Beth El temple in Traverse City.

Irv Swartz is a members of Beth El as well, one of the only Jewish temples in Northern Michigan. Nearly 70 families attend every month. The temple was built in the late 1800’s and has been in use for the longest continuous time in Michigan.

“Violence in this country has gone out of control,” said Swartz. “We’re concerned about our children…[growing up] I didn’t live in an environment where I worried about this, I didn’t worry about going to school or temple or any of these kinds of things.”

Saturday’s attack renews questions about safety.

“Security is always a concern, synagogues in the states have become more secure over the past years,” said Swartz.

Despite the terror of the attack Swartz says he doesn’t want his congregation to be fearful. He says that would let the terrorists win.

Beth El’s Rabbi had this to say: “Our hearts grieve for all the victims of terrorism this time it was the Jewish community but this is happening all too often in thecountry and in the world. It is all of our responsibility to do everything we can do to end this brutal cycle of violence.”