Leaders from across the religious spectrum spoke to a packed house Tuesday night at Temple Emanuel in Greensboro after this weekend's massacre at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue.
The evening started simply, with prayers and songs and a reading of the names of the people who died Saturday in Pittsburgh.
But the ceremony wasn't only meant to mourn the dead. According to Rabbi Fred Guttman, it was also designed to be a moment of healing.
Guttman says the politics of the day, and particularly the current campaign season, has divided Americans. And he wants to do something about that.
“Our feeling is that, as religious people, we can pull us together and emphasize our commonality as people of faith and people who believe in justice, compassion and peace,” he says.
Among the many local religious and political figures at Temple Emanuel was Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan. Vaughan says the evening's events showed that the city is standing with the rest of the nation in mourning the events in Pennsylvania.
“It's been a show of unity throughout the entire country,” she said. “We can't let hate speech rule the day. And while Pittsburgh may be far away geographically, it's not far away in our hearts, and it could really happen anywhere.”
The evening continued with speeches of solidarity from multiple faith traditions: Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu leaders all made remarks in support of the local Jewish community.
By the end of the night, their messages were clear: that peace, and unity, and a sense of determination would overcome what was, for many, a very dark weekend.