How One Vermont Synagogue Is Responding To The Pittsburgh Shooting

Oct 29, 2018

The killing of 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue over the weekend has left the Jewish community around the country grappling with reportedly the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in this country’s history.

So how are Jewish congregations responding to this tragedy? Rabbi Amy Small, the senior rabbi at Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington, said the first question she heard from her congregation was how parents can talk to children about the massacre.

"The second was: 'What can we do to fix the hateful environment that we're living in now?'" Small said.

Rabbi Amy Small spoke to VPR's Henry Epp. Listen to their full conversation above.

Small said Ohavi Zedek will also make some changes to its security, though enhanced security isn't entirely new to the congregation.

"We have enhanced our security in the past two years as we have noticed an uptick in hate speech. We have more work to do, and we are working on it," Small said. "We are going have more police presence at least in the near term, right now."

Small said she is wary of having too much security at religious institutions, saying that can make them feel unwelcoming.

Ohavi Zedek is among several groups organizing an interfaith vigil at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Contois Auditorium in Burlington's City Hall to grieve and to pray for the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting.