Deborah Scharf, who lived in Pittsburgh for 15 years before returning to Canada in 2015, said the Squirrel Hill neighbourhood is a lovely place with old homes, handsome parks, and friendly people, which reminds her a lot of the Vicker's Park area here in town.
"Places of worship should be sanctuaries and safe spaces".
The suspect, Robert Bowers, pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal hate crime charges that accuse him of killing 11 people and injuring six others as they tried to practice their religion.
As part of an effort of solidarity, people across the nation are attending synagogues and temples by a movement called #ShowUpForShabbat.
Marianna Khabad, an executive member of the local congregation, said it was important to provide the community an opportunity to mourn and support one another in the wake of such a tragedy. That was a big hit to our community and it's uncalled for. I can not tell you how truly sustaining and significant the small act of sitting in pews with us all across the world has become - and a message of strength to Tree of Life Or L'Simcha Congregation and the grieving families. But what happened in Pittsburgh serves as a reminder that hatred still persists and appears to be on the rise. "I have seen how another country with a much tougher background has dealt with this, starting at ground zero", said Walter Jacob, a rabbi at Rodef Shalom. "It's a sad Shabbat, but I remember them with joy".
"It just doesn't make any sense to me", Khabad continued. As a Jew, an American and a human, I'm devastated.
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The murderer who mercilessly killed the vulnerable has a heart of stone.
People of all backgrounds and faiths participated in the vigil and Scharf said Thunder Bay has a long history of groups of people from different faiths and cultures coming together.
The top four US congressional leaders - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi - declined to join Trump in Pittsburgh, two sources familiar with the planning said. He wanted to explain to a largely - but not exclusively - liberal Jewish community why he welcomed President Trump, who visited Pittsburgh along with First Lady Melania Trump on Tuesday.
The White House said the objective of Mr Trump's visit was to "express the support of the American people and to grieve with the Pittsburgh community".
"I never thought I'd say this, but "thoughts and prayers" feel great", said David Chudnow, volunteer manager at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, who participated in the events.
Almost 2,000 mourners from across the United States came to offer condolences to the relatives of David Rosenthal, 54, and Cecil Rosenthal, 59, at the Rodef Shalom synagogue in the Pennsylvania city as police officers stood outside. It's a vibrant community with a lot of synagogues and lots of active and public facing families.
"We need to make sure we put forward that face as well and not let one act of violence colour what it's like to be a Jew in Pittsburgh or even in Thunder Bay".