Hundreds of people of different faiths gathered in Glendale Monday to remember the victims of the Pittsburgh massacre including a Marquette professor who grew up in that synagogue.
Andrea Schneider was among the people holding hands, singing and praying for the victims. But the names of those lost mean much more, they were people from her childhood.
“It’s horrifying,” said Schneider. “I went to Hebrew school at Tree of Life. My mom was a Hebrew school teacher there. I grew up there, this was my neighborhood.”
The 11 victims names were well known in her neighborhood.
“One was a mom of a classmate of my sister. The two learning disabled men are really fixtures in the community, everybody knew them. They were at all Jewish institutions. Everybody knows somebody or is related to somebody. It’s a close-knit community like Milwaukee,” said Schneider.
Milwaukee Jewish Federation public relations chair Ann Jacobs said they have recently been dealing with increased violence towards Jews in the local community.
“We have seen a rise of about 50 percent over the past two years in antisemitic incidents,” said Jacobs. “It is more than just a spray-painted swastika. It is threats of violence, it anti-Semitic incidents against our children in public schools.”
Jacobs said during high holidays there are often armed guards at synagogues in the area.
But instead of focusing on more security Schneider said she hopes this brings people together.