Jewish Organizations Condemn Violence in Southern California

An exterior view of the Chabad Community Center. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

In response to the recent violent attack on a Chabad House in Poway, California, Jewish organizations across the nation and beyond expressed their outrage at the assault by a reported white supremacist on the last day of Pesach, as well as their condolences and prayers for the survivors.

In a statement, Agudath Israel of America said, “Once again, a Jewish house of worship was the scene of hate-fueled bloodshed. Agudath Israel extends its condolences to the family and friends of Lori Gilbert Kaye, killed in yesterday’s attack, and prays for the speedy recovery of those wounded, including the synagogue’s leader, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein.”

“Such evil acts of violence, and the attitudes that lead to them, must be condemned by all civilized people, and should reinforce the need to fight hatred wherever it rears its ugly head and do whatever we can to protect houses of worship and other targets of malign individuals.”

Likewise, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the Rabbinical Council of America released a statement expressing their deepest sympathy to the families, with prayers for the speedy recovery of the rabbi and other congregants injured in the shooting.

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

Moishe Bane, president of the Orthodox Union, added “Our hearts break for the senseless murder and injury of our fellow Jews and all victims of vicious hate crimes. We condemn the dangerous rhetoric that foments such senseless violence and we stand with the Chabad of Poway community and entire southern California Jewish community at this terrible time.”

In a statement from the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Mark Dratch, executive vice president, said, “One of the most fundamental rights of citizens of the United States is the freedom to worship as we believe and to live in safety and security.”

Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s executive director for public policy, stated: “We are deeply grateful for the rapid response of law enforcement officers and their apprehension of this terrorist. The Orthodox Union will continue to work with federal, state and local officials across the nation to provide the necessary resources to ensure the security of our synagogues and other houses of worship.”

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, expressed unity with his brethren in America by stating, “Jews around the world are distressed and saddened following the anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue in California during Passover services. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims, the wounded and all those affected. It is sickening to see that houses of worship are increasingly becoming targets for terrorists, bigots and extremists.”

“Houses of worship have to be adequately protected by their governments. Freedom of religion is a basic tenet of a functioning society, and we need governments to act quickly to prevent this trend going any further.”

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