(April 29, 2019 / JNS) Jewish and pro-Israel organizations expressed solidarity with those directly affected by the shooting during Saturday-morning services at Chabad of Poway in Southern California, where a gunman killed one woman and injured three others, including the synagogue’s rabbi, 57-year-old Yisroel Goldstein, who lost his right index finger in the attack.
This latest act of terror came six months to the day when 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the deadliest attack in American Jewish history.
“We are shocked and saddened by [Saturday’s] shooting at the Chabad of Poway, California synagogue,” said Arthur Stark, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “That this should happen when Jews gathered to observe the final day of Passover, the holiday remembering our redemption from oppression, on a day when synagogues insert special prayers for those loved ones who have died, only deepens the sense of tragedy and outrage.”
“The murderous rampage in Pittsburgh exactly six months earlier and the attack in Poway are not isolated incidents, but are horrible indicators of a reemergence in America of history’s oldest hatred, anti-Semitism. While we [all] hoped, prayed and worked to ensure that the shooting in Pittsburgh would be the last time American Jews or others were attacked in their place of worship or gathering, we are reminded that there is far more that needs to be done in order to ensure the safety and security of synagogues and other Jewish communal spaces.”
The National Council of Young Israel said in a statement, “With this being the second deadly shooting attack on a synagogue in the United States this year, we ask for assistance for our synagogues in their attempts to increase security, including the need for armed guards during their main services. Hatred does not just occur within a vacuum.”
“The anti-Semitic attack at Chabad of Poway in California is horrifying. We at the Jewish Agency for Israel are closely following events and mourn the loss of life and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured,” said its chairman, Isaac Herzog. “It’s immoral to attack people of any faith at any place of worship. It must be stopped!”
“On behalf of the Masa Israel Journey professional team, participants and alumni from around the world, I want to express my horror and strongest condemnation of the heinous crime committed [on] Shabbat morning at the Chabad of Poway, where a gunman opened fire on several worshippers gathering on the last day of Passover,” said CEO Liran Ben-Horin.
“This period marks a holy time for Jewish people as we remember the persecution our ancestors faced in the land of Egypt and retell the story our journey from bondage to salvation in the land of Israel,” she continued. “[Saturday’s] attack serves as a reminder that although we are no longer slaves in Egypt, the Jewish people still face persecution and anti-Semitism around the world.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jewish community of Poway, California, as their worst nightmare unfolds,” said World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder. “There is absolutely no justification or explanation for such violence, and it is inconceivable that, yet again, innocent people have been targeted simply for their religion and for choosing to attend a place of worship.”
The Israel education group StandWithUs noted in a statement that “senseless hate leads to violence, and has impacted the Jewish people for thousands of years. It’s time that good people of all faiths get together to find effective ways to stop hate and bigotry.”