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Macon rabbi offers support in wake of North Texas synagogue hostage standoff

Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar says she and Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker went to school together at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.

MACON, Ga. — A 12-hour standoff at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in North Texas on Saturday ended with four hostages escaping unharmed and a suspect dead, authorities said.

The result was the culmination of all-day efforts from law enforcement to negotiate with a reportedly armed person inside the Congregation Beth Israel. Authorities say they've identified the hostage-taker, but they've not released a name just yet.

While a resolution was reached Saturday night, the investigation into what happened, and why, continues -- and likely will for some time.

One of the four hostages was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker. He’s friends with Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar of Temple Beth Israel in Macon.

Bahar says she and Walker went to school together at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. She spoke to 13WMAZ prior to the release of the hostages.

She says Walker is known in the Jewish community as one who’s built bridges across faith lines and has always had a passion for serving small congregations. She also says she was in complete shock after finding out her friend was one of the people taken captive.

“If I could talk to him right now, I would just tell him that I hope he feels surrounded by love and comfort, and that his wife is surrounded by friends. That she’s surrounded by love, support and comfort during this very scary and traumatic moment,” said Bahar.

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