Religious leaders unite against hate in wake of Poway synagogue shooting

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SAN DIEGO — Hundreds of people attended a forum at University of San Diego Wednesday night to confront hate, bigotry and violence in the wake of the synagogue shooting in Poway.

Several people personally affected by acts of hate and violence shared their story including Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein.

“It was a split second decision. Your instincts kick in. You got to save the kids no matter what happens to you. As he lifts up his rifle and takes aim at me. I just turned around to grab the kids,” Rabbi Goldstein said to the crowd at the event, called A Path Forward. “He had all intents of taking everyone down, but miraculously we lost just one.”

Attendees of different races and religions heard his story along with stories from people from other cities affected by tragedy including Oak Creek, Pittsburgh, Charlottesville and Charleston.

The gathering was made possible by the San Diego Union-Tribune, University of San Diego and the National Conflict Resolution Center.

“It’s not so much about dwelling on the past of what happened, but how do we move forward? How do we find solutions,” said Ashley Virtue with the National Conflict Resolution Center.

Leaders said finding a solution starts with conversation and listening to each other.

“Something tangible that we all can do is random acts of goodness and kindness,” Rabbi Goldstein said. “Remember a little bit of light can push away a lot of darkness.”

Organizers said there will be several other forums held in the coming months, but no dates and times have been announced yet.

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