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Temple Emanu-El's Response to Pittsburgh

Adonai Oz l’Amo Yitein, Adonai Yevarekh et Amo b’Shalom. 

May God give strength unto God’s people, and may God bless God’s people with peace (Psalm 29).

It is with shock, horror, and dismay, that we consider this morning’s devastating anti-Semitic attack in Pittsburgh. For those who do not yet know, this morning a gunman who had been active in white-supremacist circles burst into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh during Shabbat morning services and a brit milah and opened fire. So far, 11 are reported dead, and more injured.

This is the most devastating and deadly Antisemitic attack we American Jews have faced in this nation and we are shaken. Our hearts and prayers go to our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh.

During troubling and hate-filled times we must remain vigilant. Know that we have been developing our security infrastructure over these past few years at Temple Emanu-El thanks to generous grants from Homeland Security. Security guards will now be present at the Temple during religious school and Shabbat services. Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey is working with law enforcement at the county-wide level and leading our communities in anti-hatred programs. We have been in touch with the Edison police, and they are increasing police presence in all possible vulnerable areas. 

Witnesses say that the gunman shouted “all Jews must die” before opening fire. In the face of such despicable hatred, the best thing that we can do is live, survive, and thrive.

Oseh Shalom Bimromav, Hu Ya’aseh Shalom, Aleinu v’al Kol Yisrael, v’al Kol Yoshvei Teivel, v’imru Amein.

May the one who makes peace up above, make peace, for all of us, all of Israel, and all those who dwell in this world, and let us say Amen.


Rabbi David Z. Vaisberg & Colin Hogan, President

Statement from the Union for Reform Judaism:

The slaughter of our brothers and sisters praying in their holy synagogue this Shabbat in Pittsburgh breaks our collective heart. 

The murders took place during a prayer service in the Tree of Life congregation where, like synagogues all around the world, they were reading from Genesis recounting how Abraham welcomed perfect strangers into his tent. How painful and ironic that we live in a time when we have to temper our loving welcome of strangers as we protect our communities from violence and hate.

There is much which is unknown about today’s horrific killings. We will learn more over the next hours and days. We will continue to work with our nation’s synagogues and other houses of worship and law enforcement to enhance security and provide effective protections for our communities – and our nation.  

This time the Jewish community was targeted, in what may be the worst anti-Semitic attack in American history. Other times it has been African-Americans. Or Sikhs. Or Muslims. Or members of the LGBTQ community. Or too many others. What we know is this: the fabric holding our nation together is fraying. It is our task to ensure that it does not come apart.

We mourn as one people along with all people of conscience.

Mon, May 20 2019 15 Iyar 5779