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Irving Park Neighbors To Honor Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Victims At Tuesday Vigil

The vigil’s organizers want to let the community know anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in Chicago or anywhere else.

The vigil will meet at the corner of Montrose and California avenues at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
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IRVING PARK — Neighbors are planning a vigil Tuesday night to honor the 11 victims of the horrific shooting over the weekend at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. 

The vigil, organized by Irving Park neighbors, is set to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday by the Henry Horner memorial at the corner of Montrose and California avenues. If it rains, the vigil could be moved to a different facility — for the most up to date information on the event check its Facebook page. 

Andrea Brands, one of the vigil’s organizers, said “it’s the right thing to do” to honor the memory of those who lost their lives. 

“This is also a time to speak out against anti-Semitism, which is on the rise,” Brands said. 

On Saturday morning, Robert Bowers opened fire at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Penn., killing 11 people. Armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and three Glock 357 handguns, Bowers shot while yelling “All Jews must die” during a baby naming service, according to KDKA-TV.

Bowers killed 11 people and injured six, two of which were in critical condition. After he was taken into custody, Bowers was charged with hate crimes, 11 counts of homicide and a number other federal and local criminal charges.

RELATED: Anti-Nazi Cookout At Kilbourn Park Plans To Show Chicago Has No Room For Racists

In Chicago earlier this year, Nazi stickers with razor blades hidden under them and white supremacist flyers have appeared in neighborhoods over the past year. Brands hopes the vigil helps raise awareness about the rise in anti-Semitism. 

“We want to make sure that this is not normal behavior,” Brands said. “This is not what the majority of people feel, so it’s important for us to gather as a community to show our support for Pittsburgh and for the Jewish community as whole.”

Hate crimes are becoming “normalized” in today’s political climate and on social media, Brands said. 

“If you don’t speak out it will become a part of the fabric of our community,” she said. “You need to let people know that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. It’s not okay.”

Brands said Horner Park was chosen as the site for Tuesday’s vigil because of its significance to Illinois history. Henry Horner, the park’s namesake, was the state’s first Jewish governor when he was elected in 1933 during the Great Depression.

“What a perfect place to have this vigil,” Brands said. “It seems like the right fit.”

Solidarity Gathering At Loop Synagogue

The Jewish United Fund will host an interfaith solidarity service Thursday in response to the tragic shooting.

The gathering will be from noon-1 p.m. Thursday at the Loop Synagogue, 16 S. Clark St.

The organization is “delivering multi-faceted support in response to this tragedy, starting with bringing our community together to stand as one with our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh,” Andrew S. Hochberg, chairman of the board, and Steven B. Nasatir, the group’s president, said in a letter to the community. 

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