TRAGEDY AT ETZ CHAYIM, PITTSBURGH
October 28, 2018
Congregation Aitz Chaim (The Great Falls Hebrew Association) would like to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to our fellow Jews in Pittsburgh. We join you if not physically, spiritually, during this time of mourning and Shiva. As we recite the ancient words of the Kaddish, we pray that the source of comfort will comfort all those who mourn, and we send peace to all those who are bereaved.
October 28, 2018
Dear Members and Friends of Har Shalom,
Today, our deepest condolences go to the people of Etz Chayim, Pittsburgh. I would like to invite you to attend a vigil at Har Shalom on Sunday October 28 at 4:30 pm. Let us mourn and pray for peace together.
We are reeling between anger and sorrow about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. My heart breaks for the families of those who lost loved ones and for the injuries of those who were wounded. I am exceedingly grateful to professional law enforcement for their dedication in the face of danger. At the same time, I am enraged that we have to suffer deadly, bigoted actions directed at our beloved Jewish people.
Although we are far from Pittsburgh, we feel the reverberations of this horrific mass shooting. Some of us are the children of Holocaust survivors. Some of us know that the Nazis killed our relatives in Eastern Europe. We remember, and it is painful. It is unspeakably despicable that innocent people are murdered because of their identity, simply because they are Jewish, especially in a house of worship, from a religious tradition that originated the concept of “sanctuary”. I will not hide in the face of anti-Semitism. We must affirm and celebrate our identity in a free society.
On the matter of security and the threat of copy-cat events, I spoke with the Missoula Police Department this morning. The officers in our zone will do extra drive–bys and will park in front of Har Shalom to fill out reports and make follow-up phone calls. I also communicated with our local police intelligence officer, who assures us that monitoring of local hate groups does not indicate any specific, immediate threat. I urge you to get in touch with me if you would like to share your concerns. Many, many thanks to all our non-Jewish friends who have called or written to express their solidarity. It means so much to us.
Meanwhile, we can do these things: (1) Please come to the vigil tomorrow, Sunday October 28 at 4:30 pm, and (2) Please work to undo the damage caused by hate-filled rhetoric and false conspiracy theories by modeling the opposite behavior, working in advocacy roles for our highest values, and voting.
Spiritual Leader and Senior Rabbinic Intern
Har Shalom/Missoula, MT
October 28, 2018
We never begin the day thinking we will learn of a tragedy, especially on Shabbat. However, we were confronted this morning with the news that shattered the very peace and rest we seek on this holy day.
As many of you are already aware, Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (home to several large and diverse Jewish communities) was in the middle of Shabbat morning services when they were attacked by an active shooter who was apparently driven by extreme anti-Semitic hatred.
It is easy to be blindsided, scared and even confused by this event. The United States is one of the safest nations in the world for Jews to live throughout the history of our people. This is why the actions carried out this morning are such a sobering reminder that bigotry, hatred, and intolerance continue to be evils we face as Jews along with others discriminated against for just trying to be who they are.
We join with other Jewish Communities around the United States and the world in mourning with the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh. Many of us at CBA have personal ties to Pittsburgh or the area.
Although our sympathetic prayers seem meager in the wake of the enormous weight of this tragedy, it joins into a bigger outpouring of love, warmth and solidarity from the other Jewish communities along with the greater United States Community. This wave reminds us that light and warmth will banish darkness; without exception. As opposed to letting this event close us off from our neighbors and make us suspicious of strangers – let us take the opportunity to get to know the people around our community better. We fear what we do not know.
One thing is certain. We will not let fear dictate how we worship or live our lives. Please note that we will continue as planned with our showing of “There Are Jews Here” at the Synagogue tomorrow. We hope to see you there!
With sorrow and a prayer for everlasting peace,
President, Congregation Beth Aaron
October 28, 2018
Shabbos in Bozeman ended a short time ago and I turned my phone on to see the horrific images out of the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The Torah says that upon hearing of the untimely passing of his sons Nadav and Avihu, Aaron, Moses’ brother and High Priest, was silent. There are times where speechlessness is the sound of a deep cry, a bitter heartbreak and an unfathomable tragedy being experienced.
Please join me tomorrow at Congregation Beth Shalom, Bozeman, at 3:30 PM for a community gathering in memory of our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh and join us this upcoming Shabbos morning November 3rd for a Shabbat Prayer for Pittsburgh as our prayers and the sermon will be dedicated to Pittsburgh and our way forward as a Jewish community.
I know that so many of you are scared, broken and angry. The words of King David must always reverberate in our minds “The guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps” and may He protect our people wherever they are and may He bring comfort to the Synagogue and greater Pittsburgh community and the families who are mourning the loss of their loved ones.
Rabbi Chaim Bruk
Chabad Lubavitch of Montana