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'It's a disease in our society': York-area reactions to shooting at synagogue

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Security guards were on standby Sunday, Oct. 28, at York College, where two area Jewish organizations sponsored a lecture on the nation of Israel in the Middle East.

The lecture came the day after a gunman entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed 11 people and wounded six others.

Paul Faulise, of Springettsbury Township, is not Jewish, but he said he has many connections to Israel and many close relationships with Jewish friends. 

"I think of late we've had a certain hatred, if you will, and I don't know how we overcome that," Faulise said. "It's a disease in our society."

Faulise said he doesn't watch cable news, but he sees the events of the day on his Google homepage when he signs on to his computer.

He said when he signs on and sees news such as the massacre Saturday in Pittsburgh, he has to shut down the page because it's so difficult to see.

"It's absolutely horrible, and I think we stand around and do nothing, unfortunately," he said. 

Paul Faulise of Springettsbury Township says that while he is Italian by heritage, he has a long connection with Israel and Jewish people, Sunday, October 28, 2018. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

Ruth Wunderlich came from Lititz, Lancaster County, for the lecture.

She said she was singing in the choir at Congregation Shaarai Shomayim in Lancaster when other choir members began passing around their phones to share the news of the shooting.

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"We were at a service just like the service where this happened," she said. "It's kind of miserable that when you hear something like that, you think, 'Oh no, not again.'"

Wunderlich said she thinks it's important not to demonize the perpetrators of these crimes and instead to try to understand them in order to learn why some people have those ideas.

"You need to understand those phenomena to guard against them and to change the narrative about who we are and what we're about in this country," she said.

Sunday night's lecture was titled "Israel: Challenges & Triumphs in the 21st Century," and it was delivered by Ilan Troen, founding director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University.

Vigil planned: A Vigil Against Hate is planned for 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, at York City Hall, 101 S. George St., in response to the attack.

The vigil is hosted by the Rev. Christopher Rodkey and St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Dallastown, according to a Facebook post about the event.

"The York faith community will gather again for a vigil against hate, to support our Jewish friends and neighbors in the wake of the targeted murder of Jews in Pittsburgh, killing eleven, injuring six (four of which are police officers)," the post says.

Those attending are asked to bring candles.