Moment of silence at Passover service for Sunday's victims

Published On: Apr 15 2014 11:50:40 PM CDT
Passover moment of silence

The shootings Sunday in Overland Park were at the top of many Wichitans' minds as they gathered at a local temple for a special Passover service Tuesday evening.

Passover is a holy festival for the Jewish community. The rabbi at Temple Emanu-El tells Eyewitness News it celebrates freedom from slavery and hatred and is for everyone. But this year it carries extra meaning.

"We'll start with a moment of silence for those who perished," said Rabbi Michael Davis before the Passover Seder began.

The festival which is usually marked with laughter and smiles got underway with a moment of solemnity.

"To remember William Corporon, Reat Griffin Underwood and Terry LaManno," Rabbi Davis explained to the congregation as he asked them to honor the victim's memories. The three were killed Sunday in Overland Park by a man police say was a lifelong anti-semite. "To have someone who has such hatred for Jews all his life, to take this time just before Pesach (Passover) to go to a Jewish site and start shooting, it adds poignancy to this day."

Davis says not only is his congregation honoring those who died, they're also being extra careful about security after the attacks.

"Because you never know," he said. "They did not expect what happened in Overland Park to happen. And, I'm sure they were vigilant there, too."

As they eat the bitter herbs of the Passover Seder that stand as a reminder of the enslavement of the Jewish people in Egypt, many are praying extra hard for the freedom the Passover celebration represents.

"We remember all those throughout history who have had an irrational hatred of Jews and have tried to hurt or kill or expel us," said Rabbi Davis. "This festival of freedom is not just for us. It's freedom for everybody. And that's part of our service, too, that we pray for freedom for all people."

The Passover festival will continue through next Tuesday. Wichita Police say they've made themselves available to local Jewish communities to provide any extra security necessary.