On the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting

October 27, 2018

Friends,

This morning, on the way to our Shabbat services we learned of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. At services, we offered our prayers for recovery for the victims of the shooting and our support for all of those families who lost loved ones or who had loved ones who were injured by the attack.

We know we speak for our entire religious community when we say that we are heartbroken by this tragic news that has turned a place of worship, peace and fellowship into a war zone. We are so grateful for the response by local and federal officials who risked their own lives as they came to the aid of our fellow Americans and co-religionists.

We are inconsolable as we hear each hour of the growing number of victims. We join voices with that of the president of the URJ, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, who, in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida said, “I can only imagine the Holy One sobbing along with us, distraught over the senseless bloodshed we’ve collectively allowed to happen. Human care for one another, perhaps Divinely inspired, is what is desperately needed right now.”

Pennsylvania Governor Wolf said today, “An attack on one community of faith is an attack on every community of faith in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” By extension, this is an attack on all communities of faith everywhere. Let us as a community do what we can to show our support to the families who are grieving, those who are injured, and the brave men and women in law enforcement who came to their aid.

We assure you that the leadership at Congregation Or Chadash is aware of your need to be assured of your personal safety when you come to our events. Immediately upon hearing the news, Jim Liebeskind advised our Jewish security group and local authorities to be alerted locally to any provocation. We will continue to work closely with authorities and security consultants.

Feel free to call upon us should you desire to discuss this further at (520) 512-8500.

Faithfully yours,

Rabbi Thomas A. Louchheim

Benjamin Vogel, President

A statement from Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union of Reform Judaism, can be found here

More resources for coping with this tragedy can be found here