Our Statement on the Killings at the Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha Congregation


We grieve with the Jewish community after the killings at the Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA.  As in Charleston, hate and violence entered a welcoming place of worship killing primarily elders that anchored a community. The inhumanity and horror of the murders cannot be overstated, and we stand in deep solidarity with the Jewish community. 

We also remember the words of Reverend William Barber after the racially motivated murders in Charleston, “the perpetrator has been arrested but the killer is still at large.”  White nationalism and supremacy undergird and feed the anti-Semitism that led to the deaths of eleven congregants.  We must stand clearly and firmly against anti-Semitism, which is inextricably intertwined with racism, misogyny and xenophobia and part of a horrifying set of hate crimes and murders in houses of worship. We note the killer was also fueled by the growing xenophobia in our country and had posted hate speech about HIAS, a Jewish organization committed to resettling refugees of all backgrounds, shortly before the killings.  

Our grief and outrage are compounded in the knowledge of the history of persecution suffered by the Jewish people.  This history makes the damage wrought by the recent unconscionable attacks by the Administration on prominent Jewish philanthropic leader George Soros deeply offensive and dangerous as they were clearly intended to revive anti-Semitic narratives.  While the killer is clearly culpable, culpability for the atrocities at the Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha Congregation extends to all who have ill-used their platforms and power to spread the cancer of anti-Semitism. 

In these perilous times in our country, we must respond with love, unity, and solidarity and not only resist the hatred but insist on a different future where anti-Semitism is firmly and finally relegated to the dustbin of a tragic history, and our Jewish communities can live in peace and safety.