POCATELLO — Dan Clark had never stepped foot inside a Jewish synagogue before Nov. 9, when he brought his family to Temple Emanuel to mourn with a diverse group of Eastern Idaho residents.
The local Jewish community invited the general public to attend its regularly scheduled Shabbat service, which also included a memorial service for the 11 Jewish people who a gunman killed Oct. 28 at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Pocatello’s interfaith community came out en masse to stand with Temple Emanuel against the senseless act of violence. The man charged with the crime, Robert Bowers, reportedly justified his actions with anti-semetic statements.
Acts of hate and violence and a festering political divide have dominated the national spotlight lately. Many of the more than 100 people, representing several faiths, who attended the memorial service, however, say they witnessed a refreshing display of unity.
For Clark, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the service presented an opportunity to show his sons, ages 11 and 5, the beauty of people from different backgrounds coming together for a common purpose.
“I decided I wanted my children to see what people coming together to mourn a great tragedy was like,” said Clark, who read about the service on Facebook. “I wanted them to experience that — to experience the faiths that were going to be there and to meet the people.”