With broken hearts and open arms, we mourn with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh and with all the good people of our nation who mourn the brutal terror attack which took 11 lives and left 6 or more injured at Squirrel Hill’s Tree of Life Synagogue during yesterday’s Shabbat morning services.

We have reached out to the leadership – professional, rabbinic, and volunteer – with whom we have worked over the years in Pittsburgh, to offer our condolences and to let them know that they are not alone. We stand with them and are ready to help them during this very difficult time. Those who wish to help the synagogue in Pittsburgh rebuild, can visit the verified GoFundMe page here, or contact the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, which is coordinating relief efforts with both the larger local community and the national Jewish community.

In the face of this tragedy, we are grateful to those who put their lives on the line for our safety. We offer our condolences to the victims and their families. We demand that our elected officials work harder to keep us safer by focusing on unifying our country, especially given that current approaches and policies have not brought us any closer to the safety we seek, and the sacredness of life that so many proclaim.

We will channel our anger and our fear to fight anti-Semitism and hate wherever it arises, and whoever it threatens. Such hate weakens us all, regardless of it’s stated target on any given day.

We decry the polarized and toxic environment that emboldens people to commit acts of violence, demand that leaders on all sides locate and address those tendencies within their own communities, not because they are all equally bad, but because we are all in this together and repair starts closest to home.

We recommit to our work in creating a community that sustains civil discourse and values religious and political pluralism. In doing this, we live the words of the Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha Congregation itself – bringing more life and more light to a moment that calls out for so much of both.

Shavua Tov,

With prayers for those most directly affected by this event, sincere wishes for a better week for all, and our sustained commitment to building a safer and saner world,

Steven J. Rotter, Chair
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President
Rabbi Irwin Kula, President