Young Israel Statement on Today’s Deadly Shooting in a Pittsburgh Synagogue

October 27, 2018

The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) today issued the following statement in the wake of today’s deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A man entered the synagogue during the Shabbat morning services, shouted anti-Semitic slurs, and began shooting, killing eleven congregants and wounding a number of others.

“The National Council of Young Israel strongly condemns today’s horrific massacre that took place in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The ruthless and gruesome murder of innocent Jews while praying in a synagogue is extraordinarily shocking and extremely difficult to comprehend. Houses of worship are a place of reflection and refuge, and the carnage at the Pittsburgh synagogue, which was carried out by a hate-filled and avowed anti-Semite, shocks the conscience and is beyond the pale. We are in tremendous shock and extreme pain knowing that a Jewish place of worship was brutally attacked by a confirmed anti-Semite whose sole mission in entering the synagogue was to murder Jews.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were killed in this terrible shooting and pray for a speedy recovery for all those who were injured at the hands of the shooter, including the police officers who came to the congregants’ aid. In addition, we thank the various law enforcement agencies who responded to this tragedy and worked to apprehend the killer and prevent further bloodshed.

“This massacre is a stark reminder of the need for every synagogue to employ security measures to keep their congregants safe. With anti-Semitic incidents in the United States on the rise and an uptick in religion-based hate crimes, it is critical that steps be taken to harden our synagogues and do everything necessary to protect people from terrorists seeking to wreak havoc on our Jewish institutions.

“We are fully prepared to work with the Department of Homeland Security to further enhance the security options for our synagogues and ensure that they have the resources and information necessary to properly safeguard their congregants from heinous acts of violence. We also will continue to make available to our branch synagogues critical security information in order to strengthen safety measures at our shuls. We are in touch with the rabbi and president of the Young Israel of Pittsburgh, and are available to help them in any way that is necessary in the aftermath of today’s tragedy.

“The National Council of Young Israel fully supports the administration’s decision to prosecute the shooter under the hate crimes act, which we backed, and to possibly pursue the death penalty. Sending a clear message that bigotry and anti-Semitism have no place in our nation is of paramount importance following such a blatant and brazen act of pure hatred. In addition, our community greatly appreciates the strong words of support from President Trump and the administration in urging everyone to work together to combat anti-Semitism.

“May G-d comfort the families of the victims among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”