People around the world tuned into Congregation Beth Israel’s Saturday service to offer their support to the Colleyville synagogue just a week after it was taken hostage.
The livestream on Facebook, which around 10:40 a.m. on Jan. 15, was interrupted when 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram held the congregation’s rabbi and three others hostage for nearly 11 hours, was flooded with prayers and comments from individuals across the country, including Arizona, New Jersey and Illinois, and abroad in London and Jerusalem.
The Saturday service, led by Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, was a step toward normalcy and an opportunity to promote healing for the Jewish community.
“We want to offer love and support,” Cytron-Walker said prior to one of the North Texas congregation’s prayers. “For the four of us. For our whole congregation. For a whole community. For everyone who’s been with us throughout this challenging and difficult ordeal. We pray for everyone, again, in our community and connected to our community.”
At one point during the service, Cytron-Walker was joined by the other three men held hostage and formed a prayer circle.
The rabbi took the opportunity afterwards to thank his community, and call every attendee to action.
“If every member of our CBI community could just reach out to one or two people, talk about that sense of support that they get from the community, just to ask about their loved ones,” Cytron-Walker said. “These are all opportunities, things that we could do more, or those acts of loving kindness that mean the world.”