'We're resilient': Winnipeg's Jewish community reacts to deadly shooting at US synagogue

The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg says support has been pouring in since Saturday’s deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg says support coming from all faiths

Pittsburgh residents embrace after an active shooter situation at a synagogue in the city, which claimed the lives of 11 people. (Andrew Stein/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP) (Andrew Stein/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/AP)

The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg says support has been pouring in since Saturday's deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Eleven people were killed in the shooting, which saw a man open fire during a baby naming ceremony at the Tree of Life Congregation, in an attack U.S. officials are investigating as a hate crime.

At least six other people were wounded, including four police officers who dashed to the scene, authorities said. No children were among the dead.

Wendell Hissrich, Pittsburgh public safety director, says the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue is being investigated as a hate crime. 0:27

Winnipeg's federation president Laurel Malkin told CBC News she sent out an email to her community and multiple other organizations Saturday, and the response has been touching.

" sending responses of how sad they are, how they're supportive of us, how they will be saying special prayers for the Jewish community in church," she said.

"Personally in Winnipeg, I feel very safe as a Jew, and I really feel that the community is there for us."

Suspect in custody

A suspect in the shooting has been taken into custody, police in Pittsburgh said later in the day Saturday. That suspect, Robert Bowers, 46, was taken to hospital and is in fair condition but has multiple gunshot wounds, a local official said.

According to local media and authorities, the gunman shouted "All Jews must die" when he stormed the synagogue.

A Saturday night vigil in Pittsburgh was held for the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

Malkin says Winnipeg's Jewish community is "horrified and deeply saddened" by news of the shooting and said they stand in solidarity with Pittsburgh's Jewish community.

"We offer our deepest condolences to all of the families who were involved and the Jewish community at large in Pittsburgh," she said, adding locally, police have been swift to assist whenever anti-Semitic acts or threats have been made against the local community.

Police respond to the scene of a shooting in Pittsburgh, Pa., with the shooter now having been taken into custody. (Pam Panchak/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Associated Press)

Sadly, Malkin says anti-Semitism is on the rise.

"So we take anything that happens against one community very seriously," she said.

"But we're resilient and we'll continue to live our lives."

Support pouring in

Malkin said Winnipeg's Jewish community has been inundated with support from the city's faith communities.

Leaders from Manitoba's Muslim community condemned the attack on behalf of the province's Muslim population, calling the shooting a barbaric act of violence.

"Our Jewish relatives have our support and prayers in this time of grief and trauma," Shahina Siddiqui, Islamic Social Services Association executive director, said in a statement.

"Canadian Muslims stand with firm resolve against anti-Semitism, religious bigotry, xenophobia and hate."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter, writing, "Canadians' hearts are with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh today, as they endured a horrific anti-Semitic attack while at prayer."

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister also condemned the attack on Twitter.

"Today's attack is a tragic reminder we must stand together and fight anti-Semitism and hate of any kind," read the premier's tweet.

Malkin says a meeting is planned Sunday morning to determine what next steps the local Jewish community will make in response to the attack.

With files from Stephen Ripley


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.