TAMPA, Fla. — Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Tampa was one of many synagogues that held services Monday to pray and stand in solidarity with families affected by the shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this past weekend.
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"Tonight our tears are real and our tears are raw and our tears sting every single wound," said Rabbi Joshua Hearshen.
Dave Rapkin attended with his wife and three young children. They came to the service wearing Pittsburgh Pirates jerseys.
Rapkin lived in Pittsburgh before moving to Tampa. He said for him, it's personal.
"I took my 4-year-old daughter to Sunday School and it was emotional, even giving her a big hug as I left her there, just thinking that in Pittsburgh they probably thought it was any day like any other," he said.
Organizers worked quickly to put the service together to give the community a place to grieve together.
Among those at the service was Mayor Bob Buckhorn. He spoke during the service, calling on the community to show solidarity and strength.
"In the face of evil, we have an obligation not just to pray, but to speak out against bigotry and hatred," he said.
During the vigil, attendees read the names of the 11 victims and lit candles in their honor.
"Knowing that the Jewish community in Tampa got together, and not only the Jewish community but overall the community in general to mark such a big event and pray, It's really, really inspiring," said Carol Kornworcel, 15.
Tampa Police stood outside and checked bags, but people said they weren't afraid to attend the service.
They said it was important to stand up to the violence and to start the healing process.