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Local Jewish leaders offer condolences, plan vigils after California synagogue shooting

Mourners Troy and Katie McKinney and their son Wynn looked at a makeshift memorial placed outside the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in Poway, Calif.
Mourners Troy and Katie McKinney and their son Wynn looked at a makeshift memorial placed outside the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in Poway, Calif.(Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images)

Jewish leaders and organizations across Massachusetts are planning vigils and offering messages of condolences and solidarity after an anti-Semitic attack Saturday at a San Diego-area synagogue that left a woman dead and three people injured.

A 19-year-old suspect was apprehended after opening fire on congregants gathered at the Chabad of Poway, a town about 25 miles north of San Diego, on the last day of Passover, killing 60-year-old Lori Kaye and injuring three others, including a rabbi and an 8-year-old girl, authorities said.

Boston police have increased patrols at all houses of worship across the city, according to Officer Stephen McNulty. No credible threats have been received, however, according to police.

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“This was yet another crime fueled by hatred,” the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston said in a statement. “We join with people around the world in praying for the recovery of the victims and mourn with the friends and family of Lori Kaye. May her memory be a blessing.”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley also weighed in on the tragedy, condemning the latest attack on a place of worship.

“There is absolutely no justification for yesterday’s attack on the holy day of the Chabad, the last day of Passover, and the taking of innocent human life,” he said in a statement. “We pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters, for the family and friends of Lori Gilbert Kaye, those who were injured and the entire synagogue congregation which feels the pain and experiences the trauma of this senseless act.”

Several vigils honoring the victims of the attack were set to take place across Massachusetts:

■ “Boston Stands with Poway,” a Facebook group consisting of several chabad houses of Boston-area communities and local universities, joined for a “solidarity gathering” Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at the New England Holocaust Memorial in downtown Boston.

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“We are appalled and heartbroken by the anti-Semitic shooting attack at Chabad of Poway,” the group said in a statement. “This is a time to come together and recognize what unites us. We pray for the memory of those killed and for the recovery of the injured.”

McNulty said before the gathering that Boston police would maintain a visible presence at the service.

■ Police also communicated with Chabad of Boston, which held a vigil Sunday at 7 p.m. to “honor the deceased, pray for the wounded, and show solidarity with Chabad of Poway,” according to an event listing on Facebook.

“There’s no one standing outside the house but police have been in contact with us in case we need anything and to let us know what’s going on,” Rabbi Shmuel Posner of Chabad of Boston said.

■ Beit Ahavah, the Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton, held a vigil at Congregation B’nai Israel at 7 p.m.

“We are outraged and resolved to work to an end to hate and obscene gun violence, and to fight for the ability for all to pray and live in safety,” the synagogue said in an event listing on Facebook.

■ Jewish organizations at Harvard University planned a gathering at the Harvard Chabad for 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to a Facebook event.

■ Temple Beth Avodah in Newton will hold a gathering in the synagogue’s sanctuary at 6:45 p.m. on Monday evening, according to the temple’s website.

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“We will proclaim our steadfastness as we did 6 months ago after the murders in Pittsburgh, to stand tall and free. We will not hide,” Rabbi Keith Stern said in a statement.


Globe correspondent Abigail Feldman contributed to this report. Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.