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Burbank community holds vigil for those affected by Pittsburgh shooting

Burbank residents from various faiths gathered on the steps of Burbank City Hall Tuesday evening to remember those who were killed or injured during the most recent mass shooting in the country.

Eleven people were killed on Saturday after alleged gunman Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and opened fire on those in the temple.

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It is considered the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in United States history.

The names of the 11 victims and the four officers injured during the shooting were read aloud during the candlelight vigil hosted by the Burbank Human Relations Council.

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Rabbi Richard Flom and his wife, Lynn Kronzec, both former members of the Tree of Life Synagogue, were at the vigil to read the names.

Though neither of them knew any of those who were killed or wounded, Flom said it was not a fortunate circumstance.

“People tell us, ‘Aren’t you glad that nobody you knew or were close to was killed there?’ and I say ‘no.’ That [would] mean I’m glad that somebody else died,” he said.

“I think we have to remember when we thank God that we or our loved ones have survived something like this, we also need to acknowledge that somebody else died,” he added.

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Flom said he’s grateful for those who stepped in to stop the shooter from continuing to kill or injure others, and additionally grateful for those who will help the Pittsburgh community and communities across the country heal from the tragic event.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), who was in attendance, said he was reminded of a quote from Gandhi, who said humanity is a great ocean that a few dirty drops could not hurt.

“But did Gandhi anticipate how many dirty drops there would be in 2018 and was it even appropriate for me to think that?” Portantino asked.

He then heard a quote from one of the rabbis from Tree of Life, who said people shouldn’t try to lessen the impact of the shooting or to rationalize it because it simply cannot be put into words.

Instead, people should continue to confront hate and love one another.

State Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) was also at the vigil, saying the Pittsburgh shooting and the countless other shootings in the country have been rooted in hate.

“The antidote to this kind of carnage is to make sure we thoroughly reject voices that will divide us, voices that divide communities, that divide people, that create artificial barriers between people, that foster mistrust and intolerance,” she said.

“We need to stand up and speak out when we see that happening, and we reject it and, instead, respond with empathy, with understanding and with love. That, I know, is going to be stronger than hatred,” she added.

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