Members of New Zealand’s community visited Christchurch to show support to the grieving families of those who were brutally massacred last Friday as they were assembling for prayers.
Rabbi Mendel Goldstein has headed Chabad in New Zealand for many years but is living in Chicago this year where he is on sabbatical.
He visits New Zealand once a month to carry out his duties as head of the country’s Chabad and was preparing to spend Shabbat with the Jewish community in Nelson when the lone gunman slaughtered the worshippers in Christchurch. Rabbi Goldstein flew to Christchurch first thing on Sunday to join those paying their respects.
In the Jewish tradition, Rabbi Goldstein placed a stone on which he wrote rather than flowers. He told J-Wire: “I have not been in contact with the Muslim community in Christchurch before.”
Amongst the plethora of floral tributes which had been placed members of the public, Rabbi Goldstein placed a stone on which he wrote “Shalom”, “Salaam” “Kia Kaha” and marked it from himself and the New Zealand Jewish community.
The stone has been gathered from a famous New Zealand beauty spot by Rabbi Goldstein’s hostess in Christchurch.
“I met many of the others who had come from overseas and across New Zealand to show their respects including an imam from Sydney who introduced himself to me as being as a friend of Rabbi Mendel Kastel. Everyone was very receptive and touched by the gestures of members of the New Zealand Jewish community.”
The tributes were gathered in a community college which had become the command centre for volunteers and those showing their support.
Rabbi Friedler from the Auckland Hebrew Congregation and Rabbi Tal from Wellington joined Rabbi Goldstein in Christchurch along with Juliet Moses from the New Zealand Jewish Council and other members of the community.
Rabbi Friedler and Rabbi Tal wrote jointly to the Imams at the Linwood and Al Noor mosques.
“We stand together against this horrific attack on the Muslim community in New Zealand. An attack on a mosque is an attack on a synagogue.”
Rabbi Mendel Goldstein met many of the families who had lost loved ones. “They were very appreciative and very touched by our support.”
This article was originally published by J-Wire and is reproduced here with permission