There were dozens of people headed in the same direction on Tuesday evening, strolling into the space at the side of the stone house in Lindberg Park. The candlelight vigil for the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting was put together quickly, and the candles being handed out ran short right away. It’s always a good thing when you have more people will to show their concern than you have planned for; many brought their own candles, and many more brought candles to share.
We shared a few words, read the names, and lit the candles. We walked across the park, down the street and then up to the main thoroughfare, coming to Temple Akiba where there were two kinds of greeting waiting for us; the welcoming members of the congregation, and the security staff. We extinguished our flames to enter, and took a seat in the sanctuary.
It was a serious and expressive service, led by Rabbi Zach Shapiro, who was joined by ministers, pastors and representatives from many of the places of worship in Culver City. The names were read again, and tears fell.
It was important to walk through the city, with friends and neighbors, and count ourselves among the fortunate. It was essential to talk with other people and express the grief, the fear and the sorrow that shootings always call up. It was healing to shed a little light into the deep autumn evening.
The shadows of hate and violence may seem, at times, too strong to counteract, but that is never true. Even a little light can keep the darkness away.