In the aftermath of the fatal shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last weekend, Vineyarders of all cultures and creeds came together at the Hebrew Center Friday evening to grieve with and show their support for the Island’s Jewish community.

On Friday, there were no empty seats at the Hebrew Center. In fact, there was hardly a place to stand as the crowd swelled to nearly 400 people.

“I’m not used to conducting a service like this one,” Rabbi Caryn Broitman said. “But seeing all your faces here tonight helps in the healing process. It really does.”

Friday was the first Shabbat service since the massacre, which claimed the lives of eleven worshippers in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. In her opening remarks, Hebrew Center president Bonnie George talked about how acts of violence against Jews transcend cities, states or countries.

“What happens to Jews in Pittsburgh happens to all of us,” said Hebrew Center president Bonnie George. — Jeanna Shepard

“What happens to Jews in Pittsburgh happens to all of us,” she said.

And on Friday, the Island made clear that “all of us” meant truly everyone. While yarmulkes and tallit speckled the crowd, many others came in ball caps and robes, street clothes and suits. After Rabbi Broitman thanked rabbis and clergy from all corners of the Island who attended the services, she offered others in attendance the chance to stand and share their affiliations.

“We’re here from the NAACP,” said one woman.

“We are here to represent the Wampanoag community,” said another.

“I’m here from the Brazilian community,” said one more.

One after another, people continued to stand and share: the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Island’s Muslim community, the Chilmark Community Church, the Island Touch Healing and Creative Arts Center, the Martha’s Vineyard Christian Science Church. By the time it was done, it seemed as though everyone had gotten to their feet, the entire crowd resounding with applause.

“Thank you,” Rabbi Broitman said. “It’s so beautiful to see the whole Island here for Shabbat.”

Friday, however, was no normal Shabbat service. It was a service of affirmation, meant to exalt love over hate, peace over violence. Rabbi Broitman ushered in both Jews and non-Jews alike with Shalom Aleichem, a song that translates to “peace be upon you.” All sang along, as the words of the Torah blessed the 11 angels no longer here, and the hundreds more who came to honor them.

Hebrew Center administrator Toni Kaufman sang Hezekiah Walker’s song, I Need You To Survive, while soprano Molly Conole closed with a haunting rendition of Duke Ellington’s Come Sunday.

“Do unto others as you would have them do to you,” she sang. “And have a brighter by and by / Lord, dear Lord above, God almighty / God of love, please look down and see my people through.”

Rabbi Broitman then led the community in the mourner’s Kaddish, a prayer of bereavement to mark the death of a loved one. She named all 11 people who died in Pittsburgh. Moments after, the congregation rose, strangers holding hands in an embrace of hope and unity.

“Let us break bread together,” she said.