ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – Shock and grief started spreading through the St. Louis Jewish community immediately after news broke of the shootings in Kansas City at two Jewish organizations. The shootings came on the day before Passover. Passover is a holiday to commemorate when the Jews were liberated from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.
"This incident really goes to show that our history has not passed," said Jewish Federation of St. Louis President Andrew Rehfeld.
But, Rehfeld says there is some comfort in the fact that police believe the suspect was working alone.
"I think it's very easy to overreact to a case like this. The fact that we're Jewish is always going to be salient for some individuals. They're extremists, and that's too bad," Rehfeld said.
So tonight, the collective community is not fearful, but rather mournful.
"The dominant feeling is sadness. It's sadness for the people harmed by this incident," Rehfeld said.
While the local Jewish Community Center is not directly tied to the JCC where the shooting happened, they do work together, and share ideas on how to best serve their communities.
"The fact is that the Jewish community unfortunately consistently does confront these kinds of incidents. And there's always a sense of introspection that has to follow, which is 'why' and 'what do we do to prevent it,'" said Karen Aroesty of the Anti-Defamation League.
"It is surprising that people still do this but we have a history of 2, 3,000 years of this," Rehfeld said.
While the incident may have targeted just one group, the hope is that it will bring many groups together in opposition of hate.
"Frankly, I have seen horrific hate crime, unfortunately, bring communities together. Trauma can be a great motivator in that regard," Aroesty said.
"We really feel supported in standing in opposition to this type of hatred, and standing in support of the families and victims that were harmed by this incident. It's just such a tragedy," Rehfeld said.