The Events in Squirrel Hill

The American Jewish community is now in mourning. The events in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh are a reminder of the strain of violence and extremism that remains a stain on the America dream. A misguided zealot for a hateful cause has succeeded in bringing eleven lives to an end. Once again we are brought face to face with bloodshed in the sanctuaries and holy places of America. The killings in Pittsburgh are an echo of Charleston, where nine African-Americans lost their lives. The number at the First Baptist Church in Texas was even larger, with twenty-six victims on a Sunday morning.

The Synagogue stands against all of this, and we are grateful to our friends for rushing to our side. Immediately after the events in Squirrel Hill, we began to hear from local law enforcement, from criminal justice office-holders, and from our neighbors in Maple Ridge. Clearly, we are in this together.

In the meantime we hope that many of our fellow Tulsans will gather with us this coming Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. We are now laying down plans for a community Memorial Service for the victims of our sister synagogue, Tree of Life. Tulsa faith leaders will offer words of solidarity and consolation, and we will have a chance to express our fundamental commitments.

We offer our own thanks for the confidence and good wishes that many people have already shared. Please join us in sending condolences to the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, and to every community that has experienced violence of any kind. Let justice be done while we comfort those who mourn, and let the memory of the righteous be for a blessing.

Rabbis Marc Boone Fitzerman and Daniel Shalom Kaiman