RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Jay Ipson, a Holocaust survivor, says the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people and injured six more over the weekend hurt him dearly and took him to his past.
“It was as if someone had taken a club and hit me over my head. It immediately flashed the memories of what happened to me at the concentration camp,” Ipson said.
Ipson joined the Richmond community at a unity vigil on Tuesday.
Rich Nelson, the CEO of the Jewish Community Center in Richmond, organized a “Night of Unity” so the community could come together as one to express sorrow and drive out despair and darkness.
“One would think in 2018 that we’re past that, but we’re not. It still exists,” Nelson told 8News.
8News spoke with Richmond resident Brian Strauss, who attended the ceremony on Tuesday night. Strauss says anti-Semitism is a historical challenge Jews have faced through history.
“You always get the, you look like a Jew or change getting thrown at you like coins,” Strauss said.
Every corner was filled to honor the lives lost in the deadliest anti-semitic attack in United States history.
“These were not evil people, these were not terrible people, just Jewish people praying for themselves and their community and no one Jew or non-Jew should have to go through that,” Strauss said.
“People are dissatisfied and they need to have a scapegoat. Since biblical times, Jews have been scapegoats,” Ipson told 8News.
Counselors are available for anyone struggling with the events of the weekend. The number to call is (804)-282-5644