Our heart goes out to those affected by the senseless tragedy at Tree of Life * Or L'Simcha synagogue including the Dor Hadash and New Light Congregations. The Jewish Federation and the Community Relations Council of Greater Harrisburg strongly and unconditionally condemn all forms of anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry, and hatred. Moreover, we denounce violence motivated by these malign attitudes that is committed against innocents.
We stand in solidarity with our friends, family, and colleagues in Pittsburgh. Their statement is below, followed by a press release from our partners from the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition.
The Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh is collecting donations to help its community during this difficult time at https://jewishpgh.org/.
***Statement from Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh***
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh joins the entire Pittsburgh community in mourning the people in our city killed and injured in the senseless violence today at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation. Jeff Finkelstein, CEO of the Jewish Federation, made these comments:
“Today our city, which has ordinarily been among the most safe and secure in the nation, was rocked by horrible tragedy. My heart is broken, and I offer my condolences to the friends and family of those killed. I hope and pray for healing for everyone affected and for all of us who are sickened by these recent events. We are truly all family in the Pittsburgh Jewish community, so these deaths have affected me and all of us as would a death in the family.
“Thank you to our brave first responders, some of who were reported wounded. We have had an excellent relationship with the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Police, and their response in this emergency was exemplary.
“Many synagogues share the sacred space where this tragedy occurred, including the combined Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation, a Conservative congregation, and Dor Hadash, a Reconstructionist congregation. An attack of any kind—and especially an attack on a place of worship—is despicable. Violence has no place in our society or in our community.
“The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will work in the coming days and weeks, alongside our many community partners, Jewish agencies and synagogues, to bring the Jewish community and all of Pittsburgh together to mourn, to help those affected and to heal. We are stronger than the tragedies that befall us because we are strong together.”
For the bereaved families, we offer the traditional Jewish condolences, “May the families of the fallen be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” We also offer a Refuah Shlema, a traditional Jewish prayer for healing for those injured and for all sickened by this tragedy.
***Statement from Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition***
Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition Mourns for the Victims of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting and Condemns These Horrific Acts of Hate and Violence. Statement from Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) Chairman Marc Zucker
“The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) joins hands with Jewish communities across the Commonwealth and all people of conscience in mourning the victims of what we believe to be the first mass shooting at a synagogue in our nation’s history. This cowardly act of anti-Semitic violence, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, fueled by blind hatred of immigrants, is a horrific stain on our nation’s heritage as a beacon of hope for all people.
The slaughter of innocent congregants and police officers, disturbing the sanctity of a joyous celebration on the Jewish Sabbath, must be condemned at all levels of government and in all corners of society.
We are grateful for efforts already in place in Pennsylvania to combat hate crimes, educate our children about genocide and ethnic hatred and cultivate mutual understanding. The challenge for all of us, and for our government leaders going forward, is to denounce xenophobia and anti-Semitism, safeguard our houses of worship, silence the increasingly divisive rhetoric that inflames the basest elements of our society and corrodes our democratic institutions, and act swiftly to curb gun violence. May the families of each of the victims of this deplorable act find comfort in the solidarity and commitment of our community, as we mourn together.”
The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) is the eyes, ears, and voice in Harrisburg of the Jewish communities across Pennsylvania, including Altoona, Erie, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Wilkes-Barre, and York Jewish Federations.