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At healing service, faith leaders from Congregation Beth Israel share words of gratitude, hope

Congregation Beth Israel
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker (right) was one of the hostages at Congregation Beth Israel on Saturday. He led the healing service for Congregation Beth Israel at White's Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake.

The rabbi who was one of the hostages says he's grateful for the outcome.

Two days after the hostage situation at a synagogue in Colleyville, faith leaders of Congregation Beth Israel held a healing service Monday night for the community.

The service began with an introduction by Howard Rosenthal, former president of the congregation.

“I won't say that I'm happy to be here. It's an unfortunate circumstance for sure. But we do appreciate the support that you're all giving to us,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal introduced Charlie Cytron-Walker, the synagogue’s rabbi and one of the four hostages. Cytron-Walker earlier spoke publicly about how he survived the ordeal.

At the service, he said it was fitting that the event was being held on Martin Luther King day. He read a quote from Dr. King that reflected the practice of healing for the community.

“Without love there is no reason to know anyone, for love will in the end connect us to our neighbors, our children and our hearts,” Cytron-Walker said. “We are very connected in this moment.”

A series of speakers and cantors from nearby synagogues then led the service with songs and prayers. They spoke and sang verses in both Hebrew and English in the spirit of gratitude for the freed hostages.

Cytron-Walker said he was grateful that the community did not have to recite the Kaddish Yatom, a traditional prayer of mourning for him and the other hostages. He also thanked faith communities of all backgrounds for their support following Saturday’s events.

“This coming together of diverse peoples with a goal of healing from whatever background you come from, from wherever you live in this world, all of us who are horrified by the terror that we endured – this is a life saving and a world saving endeavor – this attempt at healing, this beginning of healing,” Cytron-Walker said.

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Pablo Arauz Peña is the breaking news reporter for KERA News.