Statements from Jewish Organizations

NEW YORK -

As news of the horrific shooting is heard by the Jewish Community, we are shocked and grief stricken at the loss of life of our Jewish brethren, as well as the injuries to the others. Our prayers go out for those who were wounded, as we wish them a full and speedy recovery.

Hamodia has been in contact with several organizations, community leaders, and public servants, and their statements will be posted as we receive them.

Statement of Agudath Israel of America on Murder During a Shabbos Service in a Pittsburgh Synagogue

The murder of eleven people during a Shabbos service this morning in a Pittsburgh synagogue is a horrific tragedy and an outrage. Our deepest sympathies go out to the mourning families and friends of the victims who were targeted because they were Jews. We extend our deepest gratitude to the law enforcement personnel who arrived at the scene and captured the murderer. We also thank law enforcement across the country who are ramping up security measures around houses of worship.
There are simply no words of condemnation that can truly express our anguish and disgust at the perpetrator of this hate-fueled act or others like it. Any platform or group, including those on social media, that serves to stir up and metastasize bigotry and anti-Semitic hatred, needs to be called out and shut down for incitement of violence. Until all Americans confront the horror of anti-Semitism head on, our great Democracy will not have achieved its promise. May those who were injured in today’s senseless violence have a speedy and complete recovery from their wounds.

Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Jewish Organizations

Statement from Malcolm Hoenlein and Arthur Stark, Presidents

We are deeply saddened and outraged at the murderous attack at Congregation Atzei Chaim in Pittsburgh. This hate driven murderous assault on innocent people attending a religious service must be condemned by all people who care about our society and country.

But words are not enough. There must be concrete action at every level to address the promoters of hate and the sources of incitement to violence, to root out racism, bigotry and antisemitism. There must be zero tolerance for intolerance. No excuses, no exceptions.

Expressions of solidarity and compassion coming from all sectors must be the basis for common, ongoing efforts, and we must be united to confront the challenges to prevent the reoccurrence of such a barbaric attack.

It is noteworthy that this vile act takes place in the week when we commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht. While there is no comparison between the apparent act of an individual and state sponsored action, it is a reminder that we must act in a decisive manner, and not let the cancer of antisemitism grow and infect our society.

Project Witness

Holocaust Educational Resource Center, New York

Project Witness extends its deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of the horrendous massacre that took place on Shabbos morning in a synagogue in Pittsburgh. There are no appropriate words with which to comfort those whose loved ones died simply because they were Jews. Six million of our brethren died for the same reason during the Holocaust and still it continues.

So many of us have deceived ourselves into believing that anti-Semitism is not relevant nowadays in America. We know it exists in Europe, but we don’t want to admit that it has arrived in the United States as well. We ignore the evil being perpetrated in educational institutions and workplaces where impressionable young people are being inculcated with philosophies and policies that are driven by unabashed anti-Semitism. We pretend that it doesn’t affect us. We must once and for all acknowledge that the evil implicit in this act is not new. We cannot ignore this wake-up call. We dare not forget.

May Hashem continue to protect us.

Am Echad Statement on Pittsburgh Shooting

We recoil in terror and disbelief at the horrific massacre that took place today in a Pittsburgh Synagogue on the holy Sabbath during morning services.

This tragic event stirs memories of the Holocaust that our people experienced only 75 years ago, during which six million of our brethren were murdered. On November 9th we will remember the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass”, when nearly 100 Jews were killed and close to 250 Synagogues and more than 7000 Jewish businesses were destroyed in cities throughout Germany and Austria. It boggles the mind that even today, Jews are being killed while praying and Synagogues are being desecrated. It also reminds us that Antisemitism is alive and growing , even in the great United States of America.

Our first response is to stand with our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh. We feel your pain, offer our condolences and stand ready to help your devastated community in any way we can. An attack against Jews in Pittsburgh is an attack on Jews everywhere.

Second, we commend law enforcement officials and the police in Pittsburgh for their prompt response and apprehension of the perpetrator. We also commend police departments all over the United States, who immediately sprung into action to check on and protect Jewish Communities in their various jurisdictions.

Third, this crime reminds us all to be vigilant and aware about Antisemitism. We must do a better job setting up protections for our schools and houses of worship. We must do a better job rooting out and confronting Antisemitism where ever it rears its ugly head.

Tragedies remind us that “kulanu bnai ish echad nachnu” , the Jewish people share a common bond, heritage and destiny. May we merit coming together as an “Am Echad”, One People, with a future devoid of pain and suffering.

Dov Hikind Mourns Victims of Pittsburgh Massacre; Calls for Police Protection of Synagogues

Deeply shaken by news of today’s tragedy in Pittsburg, NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) said it’s time for synagogues to be secured in light of rising incidents of violent anti-Semitism.

“Jews are a target of haters on the Left and on the Right. The extremists look for a scapegoat and, as usual, the Jews become their targets,” said Hikind. “We’ve seen the tragedies in Europe, where synagogues now have police protection, and now we have this horrible, unthinkable tragedy here; people murdered during prayer services. We need to wake up and secure our places of worship because that’s just a fact of life. Jews are targets. It’s time to take that seriously.

“When words of hatred are ignored—when the Louis Farrakhans are given a pass by the Left or White Supremacists are ignored by the Right, we see what their words turn into. Let today’s tragedy be a wakeup call.”

Simcha Eichenstein Expresses Shock, Offers Condolences

In a call with Hamodia, Mr Simcha Eicenstein said, “At the same time I was davening in shul with my son, fellow Jews were doing the same in Pittsburgh. Sadly for them, this was their last time. It’s an horrific tragedy as eleven lives were gunned down and others injured. This was a cowardly act of anti-semitism. We pray for those who were injured, we mourn those that were lost and express our condolences to their families.

World Jewish Congress Horrified by Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

“The World Jewish Congress is shocked and horrified by the heinous act of terror that unfolded this morning at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and all the people of Pittsburgh,” WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said on Saturday.

“We commend the Pittsburgh police department for responding so quickly to this terrifying situation and preventing further casualties, and for effectively apprehending the assailant.” Lauder said. “It is unfathomable that in the United States of America, Jews or any one else should have to live in fear of being targeted simply because of who they are and where they choose to worship.”

Joint OU and RCA Statement 

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the Rabbinical Council of America express their deepest sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives in the horrific murders that took place during Shabbat services at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh. We pray for the speedy recovery of those injured in the shooting, including the brave police officers who rushed directly into the active crime scene.

“This senseless act of anti-Semitic violence was not only an egregious attack on the Jewish community, but an attack on the very foundations of civil society and our collective democratic values,” said Allen Fagin, the Orthodox Union’s executive vice president.

“Our hearts break for the senseless murder of our fellow Jews and all victims of vicious hate crimes,” said Moishe Bane, president of the Orthodox Union. “We condemn the dangerous rhetoric that foments such senseless violence and we stand with the Tree of Life Congregation and the whole Pittsburgh community at this terrible time.”

“We live in contentious times, when fringe elements of society have become emboldened by speech which is often disrespectful and hateful,” said Rabbi Elazar Muskin, president of the Rabbinical Council of America. “As a nation, committed to the freedom and rights of all, we must commit to reach out not only to those who are like us – but especially as our sacred Torah has taught us – to those with whom we disagree.”

“One of the greatest privileges of those who are fortunate to be citizens of the United States is the freedom to worship as we believe and to live in safety and security. We need to come together as a nation to protect these precious gifts for all members of all faiths,” said Rabbi Mark Dratch, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America.