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What we know about Shabbat services taking place at Tree of Life synagogue

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Tree of Life synagogue, which hosts three Jewish congregations, had a Torah study and Shabbat services scheduled for Saturday morning, when a gunman burst into the building and opened fire, killing at least eight people.

The Jewish faith’s weekly prayer services are held on Saturday mornings for the weekly observance of Shabbat, which honors the seventh day when God rested after creating the Earth in the Old Testament.


Shabbat is observed from sundown Friday until sundown on Saturday. Prayer services are usually held on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, with Saturday afternoon and evening reserved for studying and spending time with family.

The entire family is expected to attend Shabbat services, which involve prayer and reading from the Torah, the Jewish faith’s interpretation of the Old Testament. Services can last up to a couple of hours, depending on the congregation and time of year.

Channel 11 reported a bris was taking place at Tree of Life when the shooting occurred. A bris is the ceremonial circumcision of Jewish boys when they are eight days old. The ceremony is often followed by an intimate celebration hosted by the boy’s family.