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Billings Jewish congregation thanks community for support in wake of Pittsburgh mass shooting

Posted at 4:47 PM, Oct 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-30 19:00:06-04

BILLINGS – Faith communities across the country, including Billings, are still reeling from the weekend shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Eleven people were killed in what is being described as a crime of hate.

The suspect, identified as Robert Bowers, 46, allegedly yelled anti-Semitic slurs as he opened fire on worshipers on Saturday.

In Billings, members of Congregation Beth Aaron have spoken out against the violence.

Jill Salsbury, president of the congregation, said the weekend attack was a sobering reminder of the hatred and bigotry still alive in the United States and around the world.

“You wouldn’t think that in today’s society we would be hearing of such things, especially in the United States,” said Salsbury.

But Salsbury said what has stuck with them in the wake of tragedy, is the support of the community,

“One of the shining lights that came out of it was the outpouring, immediately, from the community,” Salsbury said. “We had numerous Christian congregations and community members calling our congregation here or reaching out to us on Facebook just saying ‘we stand with you in solidarity, we are so glad that you are here in the community, we with you nothing but love.”

The Billings First United Methodist Church wrote notes to the members of the Beth Aaron congregation, and delivered them on Sunday.

Salsbury said she also wanted to thank the Billings Police Department who, without being asked, increased patrols in the area around the synagogue over the weekend.

Reporting by Samantha Sullivan for MTN News