The Jewish community in New Zealand said they would close down their synagogues for Shabbat, in solidarity with the Muslims who were attacked by a terrorist in their mosques.
For the first time in history synagogues in NZ are closed on Shabbat following the shocking massacre of Muslims in Christchurch. The Jewish Agency and the NZ Jewish Council stand in solidarity with the bereaved families. We are united in fighting violent hatred and racism.
— יצחק הרצוג Isaac Herzog (@Isaac_Herzog) March 15, 2019
But solidarity wasn’t the only reason:
The UK’s Jewish News reported that the move was also partly over security concerns.
Among the synagogues to close this weekend, the Auckland Hebrew Congregation told members it had taken the “unprecedented step” to cancel all services this Shabbat over “concern about the security” of the community, Jewish News reported.
The Community Security Trust has also urged places of worship to exercise extra caution over the coming hours.
“Access control is of vital importance. Doors should be closed, to be opened for worshippers, school pupils etc, then closed again,” a statement by the CST read.
They have every right to be concerned. Still, to even mention solidarity is a kind thing to do. Jews and Christians are commonly thought of as “brothers from another mother,” but the Jewish faith actually has more in common, doctrinally speaking, with Islam. The two religions not only share overlap with historical ties to the patriarch Abraham, but also a history of religious persecution.
While this most recent act of right-wing terrorism targeted Muslims, a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh occurred just this past October.