(November 1, 2018 / JNS) Isaac Herzog, the Jewish Agency for Israel’s new chairman, will visit Pittsburgh this weekend, from Nov. 2-4, to mourn the 11 Jewish victims of the Oct. 27 shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue *Or L’Simcha Synagogue and offer messages of solidarity to the local Jewish community.
He is scheduled to arrive in Pittsburgh on Friday morning and attend the funerals of two of the victims, while also visiting the families of those in mourning. On Friday evening, he will join the Pittsburgh Jewish community for Shabbat services.
“We at the Jewish Agency are in pain and mourning with the Pittsburgh Jewish community, and will assist in any possible way,” said Herzog. “The crucial first step is showing up—to stand with Pittsburgh after the deadliest attack against Jews in U.S. history. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
The Pittsburgh Jewish community consists of 50,000 Jews, “all committed, Zionistic and well-organized,” he said. “We had just met their leadership here in Israel for the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly; little could we imagine there would be such a tragedy a few days later.”
Immediately following the attack, in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in coordination with Federation, the Jewish Agency engaged with the Israel Trauma Coalition to dispatch a mission of five post-trauma and grief specialists from Israel to Pittsburgh.
The specialists are providing immediate assistance to community members and developing a long-term healing plan on ways to integrate assistance for Pittsburgh through various programs, initiatives and representatives.
The Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Gether (P2G) Karmiel-Misgav-Pittsburgh region—one of dozens of P2G regions that connect Jewish communities in Israel and abroad—is also engaging with its counterparts in Pittsburgh to offer support . On Tuesday evening, some 300 people gathered in Karmiel, Israel, for a memorial service alongside two delegations from Pittsburgh that are currently in Israel.
“Our response to this horrid attack will be ongoing,” said Michael Siegal, chairman of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors. “All too often, tragedy and trauma are part of the Jewish story. But what matters most now is that the Jewish people respond through unity against all forms of hate and take substantive actions to support the Pittsburgh community’s healing process. All of the Jewish people are responsible for one another.”