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Vigil urges residents to ‘choose life’

Following Saturday’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Manhattan Beach resident Charlie Raker reached out to his uncle Martin, who lives in New York City and is a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. His uncle, in turn, pointed to a story he had recounted in his memoir. When they were being sent to Auschwitz, his uncle’s father had said to Martin that, if Martin survived, he had to honor his ancestors the only way he could: keep on living.

Raker related the story at the foot of the Manhattan Beach Pier Monday night in an emotional candlelit vigil prompted by the shooting, in which suspect Robert Bowers is accused of killing 11 people. The impromptu ceremony came together after local religious leaders reached out to city officials, and hundreds of people gathered to sing, light candles and attempt to regroup from what authorities say was a homicidal attack fueled by anti-Semitism.