Fear on congregants' faces was 'a page out of Holocaust albums'

Poway's Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein speaks at event honoring 25th anniversary of Lubavitcher Rebbe's passing.

Chana Roberts ,

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein
Eliran Aharon

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, the Chabad emissary whose synagogue suffered a shooting attack in April, spoke at an event honoring the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

Describing the shooting, Rabbi Poway said: "I find my congregation outside. They are huddled...The fear on their faces is a page out of the Holocaust books albums. But I can think of only one thing: What's my job as the Rebbe's shliach (emissary -ed.), as a soldier? What would the Rebbe do at this moment?"

"I told the Bnei Yisrael (children of Israel -ed.), my children, our congregants, that what's happened here is not going to define us. What's happened here is what we read in the Haggada, vehi she'amda (a prayer said on Passover), this happens in every generation, but G-d will spare us, G-d has spared us. And I asked everyone to shout with me and they said the words, am Yisrael chai (the nation of Israel lives on)!

"I did not know this 'till afterwards because they took me away to the hospital to save my fingers. But what happened was the members of the congregation rose up from that sheltering fetal position, they stood tall, they went to my son's house, which is neighboring to the shul (synagogue), and they continued reading the Torah, they continued reading the haftara (portion from the Prophets read after a Torah reading), and they sat down for a Moshiach (messiah) meal."

Rabbi Goldstein also said that the gunman's last two bullets scraped his son-in-law's kippah (skullcap) and tallit (prayer shawl), but did not touch his body.

"We're all children of G-d, and we're all responsible for each other, and we all need to make this world a better place," he concluded.