In the Face of Darkness, Spread Light

Stand for Israel  |  April 29, 2019

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein speaks to community members and congregants about the shooting at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue during a candlelight vigil for the victim of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue at Valle Verde Park on April 28, 2019 in Poway, California. - A rabbi who carried on preaching despite being wounded in the latest deadly shooting at a US synagogue said on April 28 that Jews would not be intimidated by the "senseless hate" of anti-semitism. (Photo by SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP) (Photo credit should read SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images)

After an anti-Semitic shooting terrorized his congregation, killed one worshiper, and left himself and others wounded, a rabbi responded with inspiring words. The Jerusalem Post’s Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman reports that Poway Chabad synagogue’s Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein has asked us all to spread light in the face of such evil and hatred:

“We need to go out there and spread light,” Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein said on Sunday from his hospital room in San Diego, California, in response to the fatal terrorist attack on his synagogue the day before.

Goldstein was shot at close range in a hate crime shooting attack during the eighth day of Passover services.

“We need to create as much light as possible in this world, by participating in prayer services, supporting our local Jewish communities and mostly doing random acts of kindness,” he said on a phone call with The Jerusalem Post.

“A little bit of light pushes out a lot of darkness,” he said.

Goldstein was one of three people wounded in the shooting attack on Saturday by John Earnest, 19, who allegedly burst into the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, north of San Diego. Earnest killed Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, and wounded the rabbi and two others, including an eight-year-old girl.

The rabbi described in an audio interview aired on national television how after exiting the prayer service to wash his hands, he entered the synagogue banquet hall and heard a loud bang.

“I did not know what it was,” Goldstein said. “I thought Mrs. Lori fell or a table fell. I turned around and I was face-to-face with the murderer-terrorist, who was holding a weapon and looking straight at me.”

Goldstein described how the shooter opened fire, and he put his hands up to block the bullets, which sliced off one of his fingers. He then watched as Earnest gunned down Gilbert-Kaye at close range.

“I turned around and saw a group of children in the banquet hall, including my granddaughter, and I just ran, not even knowing that my fingers were blown off, and hurled all the kids together and got them outside… to safety…”

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