(August 5, 2019 / JNS) The Jewish community of El Paso, Texas, is offering support to the Hispanic community following Saturday’s deadly attack at a Walmart in the city that borders the southern United States.
El Paso, America’s 22nd-largest city with an estimated population of 682,669, is more than 80 percent Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. census.
Of the 22 people now confirmed dead by gunfire on Saturday at a Walmart adjacent to the Cielo Vista Mall, at least seven were Mexican citizens, and of the 26 injured in the attack, at least nine were Mexican nationals.
El Paso’s Jewish community of 5,000 strong have been encouraging people to donate blood and participate in a fundraising campaign for victims of the attack, Rabbi Stephen A. Leon, the emeritus rabbi of B’nai Zion, a conservative congregation affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Jewish Theological Seminary, told The Jerusalem Post.
On Sunday night, they attended a large municipal interfaith-prayer vigil.
“As soon as we know who the victims are, we will reach out to them,” he said. “As Jews, our job is to make the world a better place. We have to fight the fight even stronger.”
The retired rabbi from El Paso added, “We feel grief, but also frustration: Why do people do such evil acts? I was at that mall just a few days ago with my grandchildren. Other than for the fact that the shooting happened on Shabbat, it could have been us. It could have been anyone.”