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236 Kane Street / Brooklyn, NY 11231 / 718 875-1550

Statement about Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting

October 27, 2018

Dear friends,

This morning, on Shabbat Kodesh, the Holy Shabbat, our Yom M’nucha, our day of rest, apparently in the middle of a baby naming ceremony, a shooter walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killed at least 11 people, and injured several others, including four police officers.

We are heartbroken, and we are appalled. We extend our n’chama, our condolences to the families who have lost loved ones. We pray for the r’fu’ah, the healing of body and healing of spirit of those who were injured. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the greater Pittsburgh Jewish community, and will let you know as we become aware of ways to provide direct support.

We are outraged by anti-Semitism, whether in Pittsburgh, Paris, Berlin, or anywhere else. We decry the rise of anti-Semitism, white nationalism, racism, and other toxins that are polluting our political environment and encouraging haters to kill and injure. We call for an end to extreme and bigoted rhetoric that encourages violence, and we pledge to support and elect politicians who will work to unify our country.

Your safety and security are our highest priority at Kane Street Synagogue. Immediately after these attacks, we were in touch with our local police at the 76th Precinct, who responded quickly—as did other police and civil defense personnel across our city—to assure the safety of Jewish institutions. There will be a heightened police presence at the synagogue building all weekend, and the police are in contact with our Interim Executive Director, Lori Tompkins, who has provided them with the dates and times of our upcoming events.

Our synagogue leadership has been proactive about addressing our security needs. Last month, Kane Street was notified that we have been awarded a $143,000 federal grant through the 2018 Nonprofit Security Grant Program for enhanced security measures to protect the synagogue. Funds for the grant are provided by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and FEMA. This is in addition to a different (but complementary) $50,000 grant we received in June 2018 from the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant Program (funded by the NY State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services). More information about the projects we will be funding with these grants will be shared this week.

We will respond to this tragedy as our people have responded in the past. We will provide support to those most directly affected. We will honor and show our gratitude to the individuals of all faiths who risked their lives to save and protect the worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and who continue to provide succor. We will channel our outrage into fighting anti-Semitism and all prejudices which exploit fear and suspicion, and keep us from each other.

Shavua tov, may we honor the lives of those who were lost by bringing more light and goodness into this coming week, by openly celebrating Jewish life and learning, and by strengthening our commitment to Tikkun Olam, to a better world.

Rabbi Sam Weintraub
Adina Solomon, President of the Congregation

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