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“That could have happened here:” El Paso’s Jewish community reacts to violence

The chair of El Paso’s Jewish Community Relations Council remembers the moment he learned eleven members of a synagogue were murdered in Pittsburgh.

“The first thing that comes to mind is, that could have happened here,” David Kern told ABC-7.

Kern said Jewish communities in all parts of the country were rattled beyond belief.

“For this to happen during Shabbat services, during Saturday morning services when people are actually worshipping is just heinous beyond belief,” Kern said.

“Most of my family that was in Europe before the war was exterminated by the Nazis,” said City Councilman Peter Svarzbein.

Svarzbein told ABC-7 that his grandmother, Cecilia Camp, survived the holocaust. He said eight of her nine siblings died at the hands of Nazis.

“We need to stand strong together and say this is not acceptable. This will never be acceptable in the United States of America.”

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, there are more than seven million Jews in the United States. Kern estimates El Paso’s Jewish community has between four and five thousand members.

The Jewish Federation of Greater El Paso has planned a vigil and rally for Monday at 5:30 p.m. at San Jacinto Plaza.

“You cannot fight hatred with hatred, you cannot fight darkness with darkness,” Kern said. “You have to fight hatred with love and darkness with light.”

Note: Svarzbein is running for re-election as city councilor in district one. His opponents include Rick Bonart, Carlos Corral and Veronica Frescas.

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