South Florida

‘Stronger Than Hate': Hundreds Gather in Song, Prayer for Pittsburgh Synagogue Victims in Miami Beach Vigil

Hundreds of people, with their arms wrapped around each other in unity, sang and prayed in a community vigil Tuesday in Miami Beach as the first funerals took place in Pittsburgh for the 11 lives lost in the mass shooting inside a synagogue.

"The antidote to evil are radical acts of kindness," said Carol Brick-Turn of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. "To be good to each other, to be kind to each other, and to move forward together in unity."

Tuesday's memorial took place in front of the Holocaust Memorial on Meridian Drive, a sacred spot and a fitting one to denounce hate and pay tribute to the victims.

"This is a sacred place not simply because it is a memorial to the horrible, heinous crimes of the past, but it is a reminder to us every day that hate exists," said Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber.

Hate crimes against Jews have surged in the last year. Last Saturday's attack was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history.

The vigil was organized by the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, but people of all faiths, including Catholics and Muslims, stood in condemnation.

"We're coming together as one community as a sign of hope and God's presence among us," said Father Pat O'Neill of the Archdiocese of Miami.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived in Pittsburgh Tuesday amid protestors, taking heat for his rhetoric and the timing of his visit.

"Now is not the time, I’m telling you," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said. "I’ve been a Jew my whole life. And I know what our traditions are. There is a time for the president to come. I’m not suggesting there isn’t. But this is not it."

Pittsburgh city officials called for Trump to postpone his visit, citing that the city doesn't have enough public safety officials to provide protection or for the city to be able to handle the attention of a presidential visit.

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