By Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Penn Hillel is helping students celebrate Passover by providing more than 500 Seder meals.
Passover is a joyous occasion, but this year, sadness lingers.
“All Jews across the country, across the world, will be marking this occasion and be thinking about our family in Kansas City,” says Rabbi Joshua Bolton, of Penn Hillel.
Police have labeled Sunday’s shooting rampage in Kansas City a hate crime.
Three people died after a gunman targeted a Jewish assisted living facility and community center.
Authorities say the alleged shooter had a history of anti-Semitic feelings and ties to white supremacy groups.
As a result of the attack, Philadelphia police have stepped up patrols around synagogues since early Monday morning.
“This doesn’t just affect the Jewish community, it affects the entire community,” explains Josh Cohen, of the Anti-Defamation League.
Cohen has reached out to local religious groups, “providing them with security updates, information as well as tips, strategies — things they can be doing to secure their institution.”
The Anti-Defamation league has reported anti-Semitic incidents have declined nationally but have slightly gone up in our region.
“To remain vigilant in these dark times…security is very important,” says Cohen.
For Rabbi Bolton, Seder dinners across the area will be filled with prayers for peace.
“I’m praying for optimism. I’m praying for hope,” he says.