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Grand Forks synagogue plans to honor those killed during Pittsburgh attack

People embrace as they wait in line outside of Rodef Shalom for the funeral of brothers David Rosenthal and Cecil Rosenthal. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Salwan Georges

A local congregation of Jewish worshippers plans to honor those killed during a hate-motivated shooting spree last week in Pittsburgh.

The B'nai Israel Synagogue will host a Solidarity Shabbat during their regular 7:30 p.m. Friday service. Congregation President Bert Garwood said he plans to read the names of the victims and the congregation will acknowledge and mourn the loss.

A gunman opened fire on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Oct. 27 and killed 11 people, wounded two worshipers and injured four officers. Reports say the shooter, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, had posted anti-Semitic statements online and shouted hateful things during and after the attack.

Garwood attended a vigil Monday night at a Fargo synagogue and said the service made him feel less alone.

"I felt the feeling that we are not alone," he said. "In North Dakota we have such a small Jewish congregation that it's easy to often feel like you're not included in things."

Garwood said around 100 people attended the Fargo service, including Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. He said the Grand Forks Jewish community is small, consisting of about 20 families. Garwood is unsure what the Friday night service in Grand Forks will look like, but said other faith communities have been invited.

"There's a chance we may be overfilled because it's such a small building, but we will make due," he said.

Many members are still shaken by the anti-Semitic attack and Garwood said the congregation will likely increase security measures.

The Friday night service will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the B'nai Israel Synagogue, 601 Cottonwood St.