Extra security and prayers led off the candidates’ forum at Boca’s Temple Beth El.
The audience was slow to arrive but showed the Pittsburgh synagogue murders wouldn’t keep people away. “This is my temple and I came here to hear people speak,” said founding member Charlotte Robinson. A Yahrzeit memorial candle sat on the synagogue bema, the raised alter in a sanctuary.
Beth El Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Brockman, and Cantor Lori Shapiro and Rabbi David Steinhardt of B’nai Torah led the prayers for the 11 people murdered in their synagogue in Pittsburgh. “It can happen anywhere and it’s our job not to give oxygen to hate,” Brockman said.
“This can’t be the new normal,” said Matt Levin, president of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.
Getting down to the Nov. 6 election, Rabbi Greg Weisman moderated a panel that asked the candidates questions.
Chief financial officer candidate Jeremy Ring and Nikki Fried vowed to increase the state’s investments in Israel bonds. Fried is running for the agricultural commissioner that oversees gun permits.
“Weapons of war do not belong in our community,” said Congressman Ted Deutch. “There’s no place I’d rather be than in the synagogue. It’s an act of defiance.
“Our freedom is under attack. That’s why I’m running,” said his opponent Nicolas Kimaz. “No gun law would have prevented what happened.”
Florida House District 89 candidate Mike Caruso said his wife and son are Jewish, so he’s privy to anti-semitic comments. “We need to stand up against it.”
“Let’s end this week of hate,” said Jim Bonfiglio, running for the same house seat.
“This is my shul. I was bar mitzvahed here,” said District 87 incumbent State Rep. David Silvers. “What can we do to make to make sure to prevent gun violence in this state?”
Palm Beach County Commission candidates Robert Weinroth and Billy Vale addressed panelists’ questions on climate change. Weinroth wants to tighten building codes similar to post-Hurricane Andrew. “I would work with the Army Corps of Engineers,” Vale said.
By Marci Shatzman