HONOLULU – Heartbreak over the shooting is felt all the way in Hawaii in our small Jewish community. We spoke to leaders of congregations and they tell us this is not an attack on one group but on all of us.
Leaders say they’re still trying to process the shock but they want people in Hawaii to know that this is a time to come together more than ever. At Temple Emanu-El in Nuuanu, flags were flown at half-staff for the victims of the Tree of Life Congregation.
“Words cannot express my sadness, our sadness as a community for the community in Pittsburgh,” said Rabbi Ken Aronowitz of Temple Emanu-El.
Leaders in Hawaii’s Jewish community say a sacred place to worship has been totally violated.
“Do we feel alarmed? Do we feel concerned? We are concerned for all the Jewish people in the world and also all the other ethnic groups and religions because it’s not just an attack on us it’s an attack on everybody’s right to feel safe,” said President Sandra Armstrong of Congregation Sof Ma’arav.
While the devastation is felt around the world, many feel blessed to live in a diverse community like Hawaii.
“Sometime ago, as you know, we were one of the congregations that received a phony threatening phone call from the mainland. So thankfully we haven’t experienced anything like that here. Thank goodness. In fact, I just received a donation check presented to me from someone who is not Jewish but who said I was moved to give because of what happened,” said Rabbi Aronowitz. “We want to share that aloha that ‘shaloha’ with the community in Pittsburgh.”