Ventura County synagogues rallied together to plan memorial services tonight at both ends of the county for slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, to honor the man and his contribution to peace.
Both services are open to the public.
The services were planned to help those in the Jewish community and people throughout the county deal with the assassination of the man who headed the Jewish state, said Rabbi Alan Greenbaum of Thousand Oaks' Adat Elohim synagogue.
"When the community comes together, it's a time when we can help each other and we can strengthen each other," he said. "We have to maintain an emotional posture of hope, not just in regards to the peace process, but in regards to life in general."
Temple Beth Torah of Ventura will hold a service at 7 p.m. at the synagogue at 7620 Foothill Road in Ventura. More information is available by calling 647-4181.
Temple Etz Chaim at 1080 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks will hold its service at 7:30 p.m. Call 497-6891 for additional information if needed.
Rabbi Shimon Paskow of Temple Etz Chaim called Rabin's death a "terrible tragedy."
"Yitzhak Rabin was a great man," said Paskow, who met Rabin several times. "He was very open, very personable. . . . Yitzhak Rabin gave his whole life to the State of Israel."
Rabin, a war hero who won the Nobel Prize for his pursuit of peace, was killed Saturday at the end of a rally supporting his government's efforts to end Arab-Israeli conflicts.
"My first thought, because I had heard right off that it was a Jew that had done this, was shock and devastation," said Rabbi Michael Berk of Ventura's Temple Beth Torah. "I was amazed that a Jew would do this to another Jew.
Rabbi Michele Paskow of Congregation B'nai Emet in Simi Valley had a similar reaction.
"People are saddened. It's a tragic day in Jewish history," she said.
Both Temple Beth Torah and Congregation B'nai Emet led children in prayers for peace during their regular Sunday morning religious classes.
"One of the things we talked about was extremism, how it can be damaging to either side," Paskow said.
Berk said he did not recite the Kaddish, the traditional mourners' prayer, in his Sunday morning service because it is not spoken until after the dead are buried.