We are saddened and horrified by the hate crime and act of terrorism which happened yesterday at the Eitz Chayim – Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, USA.
Our thoughts go out to the families of the victims, the staff and members of the Synagogue, the Jewish Community, and all who mourn. We are grateful for the first responders and the police, whose actions saved lives. Our grief at the deaths of eleven people and the wounding of six more is palpable. We can see ourselves in them and in the pained faces of their surviving family members. We pray for the well-being of those who mourn their loss, and for the recovery of those who suffered terrible wounds.
Our immediate reaction is simple. We urge all of you to be more vigilant and aware of any potential dangers. Speak up if you see anything suspicious around the synagogue. Together with CSO, we are reviewing and meeting about security plans currently in place for Bet David. Your security is of utmost and critical importance for us.
We have had no threats made against us, nor do we have any concrete reasons for fear. Our synagogue leadership is reacting in a measured and responsible fashion, and we urge all of us to do likewise.
Nearly 80 years after the Kristallnacht Pogrom in Nazi Germany we are once again reminded of the hideous evil face of anti-Semitism, and the murderous force that comes with it.
Each of us has the power to be an agent of change – to promote love, respect and understanding in a world that seems to be feeding off of hatred and bigotry. Don’t keep silent, speak out, do what you can to eradicate hate, and respond to those who perpetrate it – and show people another way – a way of inclusion, love and fellowship.
As a response to the rise of neo-Nazi organisations in Europe, people have joined together under a banner saying „We are more„.
Yes, we are more. More than all who hate us. More than those who try to limit our freedom of self-expression. More than those who try to kill us.
May God who makes peace in the heavens, bring peace to us, to Israel and all the world.
Eric Milner and Rabbi Adrian M Schell