'We're here together:' Greenwich rabbi visits San Diego synagogue following shooting

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GREENWICH -

A rabbi from Greenwich visited the San Diego synagogue that was the scene of a deadly shooting last weekend to show his support for a longtime friend who was among the victims.

Rabbi Yossi Deren from Chabad of Greenwich says he didn't know about the shooting until his friends went to his house Saturday afternoon to tell him. Deren hadn't been checking his cellphone or watching TV because it was the middle of Sabbath.

The rabbi says he learned his friend, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, was one of three people injured in the shooting at the Chabad of Poway. One person also died during the shooting.

Deren then got on a plane to San Diego and flew across the country to see Goldstein.

"It's important when people are going through a difficult situation, a tragic situation, to simply show your concern with your presence," Deren says.

Goldstein was hit in the hands and lost a finger during the shooting. Congregation member Lori Kaye was killed after witnesses say she put herself between the shooter and Goldstein, possibly saving the rabbi's life.

"I did have the opportunity to simply give him a hug," says Deren, "and let him know that we're here together."

Deren says while visiting the synagogue, he was heartened when he saw people not of the Jewish faith standing there in solidarity.

"Walking through the halls of the synagogue, which is a vibrant place of life, and to imagine what just happened there hours before... was something that shook me up," Deren says.

Deren says this shooting isn't about the Jewish religion or any other houses of worship. He says we're experiencing a violence crisis of epic proportions and that it's up to all of us to step up and do something about it.

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