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Boston-Area Jews Gather At Holocaust Memorial To Denounce Anti-Semitism After Poway Attack

Rabbis and several dozen members of Greater Boston's Jewish community gathered Sunday beneath the towering New England Holocaust Memorial for a vigil in the wake of the latest killing at a synagogue.

Rabbi Asher Bronstein, of Chabad Lubavitch in the Merrimack Valley, said it’s clear where the fight against anti-Semitism needs to start.

“If we make sure that the youngsters grow up correctly, then everything will be good," he said. "We have to start from bottom up; we can’t start from the top and going down.”

The group gathered to mourn Saturday's shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California. They were joined by Gov. Charlie Baker and his wife.

“We want be able to say to those of the Jewish faith that we’re pained and we're outraged by what this means to you — and we will do all we can to have your back,” Baker said.

Authorities are investigating Saturday's shooting, in which 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye was killed and three others injured, as a hate crime. Police have identified the gunman as a 19-year-old California man, who is expected to be arraigned this week.

The attack comes six months after the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that took 11 lives, "the most lethal anti-Semitic attack in American history," according to American Jewish Committee. On Sunday, the group called on Congress to hold hearings on "violence motivated by white supremacist ideologies," adding that the alleged perpetrators of both synagogue attacks were adherents.

After singing in front of the vigil in Boston, Rabbi Yossi Lipsker, of Swampscott, said the Jewish community is committed to fighting anti-Semitism.

“We’re here to say that we ain’t going anywhere,” Lipsker said, standing beside his neighbor, Gov. Baker. “We’re going to fight this trend before it becomes a trend."

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Simón Ríos is an award-winning bilingual reporter in WBUR's newsroom.

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