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The temple had armed guards among the Jews

Marc Munroe Dion on

Tonight, a month or so after the shootings at a synagogue in Pennsylvania (remember those? I didn't think so.), I went to an "interfaith memorial service" at a synagogue about five minutes from my house in a midsized Massachusetts city.

I lived four blocks from that synagogue for 16 years, and you could see the back of it from the small corner store where I bought beer, frozen pizza and newspapers. We waked my father in a funeral home just a block from that synagogue.

Over the years, working as a reporter in the city where I live, I found myself in the synagogue from time to time, covering an event, a service, one of the holidays, things any reporter covers every so often at synagogues and Methodist churches and Catholic churches. Once a decade or so, some yo-yo with a complete misunderstanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ would vandalize the place, paint a swastika on the wall, and I covered that, too, including the expected sorrowful, angry interview with the rabbi and a mushy quote about "diversity" from the mayor.

"Keep that kind of story short," a barnacled old editor once told me. "You don't want to encourage the little (redacted) who did it."

Which I did.

Tonight, I put on khaki pants, what my mother would call "a nice shirt," and a dark-green tweed jacket. I dug the gold brocade yarmulke out of my sock drawer. I'm not Jewish, but I acquired the yarmulke under boring circumstances some years ago and it's come in handy on some news stories, at Jewish funerals or weddings, and when invited to a friend's house for Passover.

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Not that you to need to bring your own yarmulke to the temple. They have a cardboard box of cheap ones for the non-Jewish to borrow. But I like having my own.

"Hey, you're not playing with a kid here," I say when one of the members of the congregation offers me my choice from the cardboard box. "I got my own yarmulke."

Then I slap the thing on my head with a flourish, and find a seat.

The memorial service was exactly what I expected. You had your elderly congregation. You had your politicians, all of them at least nominally Christian. You had your professional battlers for tolerance.

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