Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 - 21 of Av, 5779
USA

El Paso’s Jewish community stands in solidarity following deadly shooting

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Some 5,000-strong are asking people to donate blood and participate in a fundraising campaign for the attack victims, said Rabbi Stephen A. Leon, emeritus rabbi of the Conservative B’nai Zion synagogue.

The Jewish community of El Paso, Texas, is offering support to the Hispanic community following Saturday’s deadly attack at a Walmart in the city that borders the southern United States.

El Paso, America’s 22nd-largest city with an estimated population of 682,669, is more than 80 percent Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. census.

Of the 22 people now confirmed dead by gunfire on Saturday at a Walmart adjacent to the Cielo Vista Mall, at least seven were Mexican citizens, and of the 26 injured in the attack, at least nine were Mexican nationals.

The suspect, Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old from the Dallas suburb of Allen, is believed to have posted a manifesto railing against the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” prior to the incident, and expressing sympathy for the man charged with gunning down 51 Muslim worshippers in March at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

El Paso’s Jewish community of 5,000 strong have been encouraging people to donate blood and participate in a fundraising campaign for victims of the attack, Rabbi Stephen A. Leon, the emeritus rabbi of B’nai Zion, a conservative congregation affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Jewish Theological Seminary, told The Jerusalem Post.

On Sunday night, they attended a large municipal interfaith-prayer vigil.

“As soon as we know who the victims are, we will reach out to them,” he said. “As Jews, our job is to make the world a better place. We have to fight the fight even stronger.”

The retired rabbi from El Paso added, “We feel grief, but also frustration: Why do people do such evil acts? I was at that mall just a few days ago with my grandchildren. Other than for the fact that the shooting happened on Shabbat, it could have been us. It could have been anyone.”

A second mass shooting took place on the same day, outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed, including the shooter’s own sister, and 16 injured in the attack. The shooter was killed by police. FBI investigators are looking into the motive for the crime.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would “pledge total support of Federal Government” to Texan authorities, and that the attack  “was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this country to condemn today’s hateful act.”

 

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