LGBT Community Suffers Loss In Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

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(DV) Jerry Rabinowitz was Pittsburgh’s pre-eminent HIV physician during the height of the AIDS crisis. He was among those killed in the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27.

In an article in The Forward, Michael Kerr, a former patient of Dr. Rabinowitz, describes what kind of doctor he was: “Before there was an effective treatment for fighting HIV itself, he was known in the community for keeping us alive the longest,” Kerr wrote. “He often held our hands (without rubber gloves) and always, always hugged us as we left his office.”

Several events were going on that morning at Tree of Life Synagogue, which was home to three congregations. Among them was what most media, including the Times of Israel, reported as a brit milah for a gay couple’s newborn twin sons. More likely, it was a baby naming, because a bris (circumcision) isn’t normally performed on Shabbat (Saturday). Dads and sons were not among those shot.

Locally, synagogues are beefing up security. Most Jewish houses of worship are already kept locked. At a community vigil at Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas on Oct. 28, Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall pledged to protect the Jewish community.

Congregation Beth El Binah with a predominantly LGBT membership has already been in touch with police about enhancing security during services and events. The synagogue meets at Northaven United Methodist Church, which has also added security procedures for its building.


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