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The San Diego Union Tribune: Grace, faith on display at vigil for synagogue shooting victims

May 2, 2019

Saturday’s shocking, despicable attack at the Chabad of Poway will be an indelible and painful memory for the San Diego community. A domestic terrorist who hated Jews and Muslims killed Lori Gilbert-Kaye and injured Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Almog Peretz and Noya Dahan.

But the Monday night vigil paying tribune to shooting victims was a welcome display of grace, resilience and resolve. Several speakers made powerful points to the estimated 4,000 people who came to the Poway High School stadium for the event, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego and the Poway Unified School District.

Bishop Robert W. McElroy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego spoke of the importance of the interfaith community acting to counter “the unique virulence of anti-Semitism.” He also said, “We also must see that our responsibly lies in saying to young men, and young women, who lose their way, and seek to find the answers in hatred and violence, we must take them aside, we must make clear that there is no place for those elements within this society. We must seek to transform their lives not by exclusion, but by love and compassion.”

This sentiment might not set well with those who think of course those who traffic in extremism should be excluded. But individuals caught up in internet-fueled hate think can be pulled out of their manias before they become killers. Flawed human beings — even deeply flawed ones — can be redeemed. As Rabbi Goldstein told CNN, “a little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness.”

— The San Diego Union-Tribune