Jewish organizations responded with grief and anger on Saturday night after a gunman killed one and wounded three in an attack on a synagogue in Poway, California.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded to a deadly shooting at a California synagogue on Saturday, commenting in an official statement, “We are devastated by the shooting at the Chabad synagogue and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
“It’s heartbreaking to see yet another tragedy on Shabbat, on the last day of Passover, exactly six months after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh,” he added, referring to the attack last year by a white supremacist who killed 11 worshipers.
The attack on Saturday claimed the life of 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye, leaving three others wounded, including an 8-year-old girl originally from Israel, in addition to her uncle and the community’s leader, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein. The primary suspect was named as 19-year-old John Earnest, whose social media activity included promoting anti-Semitic conspiracies.
“This shooting is a reminder of the enduring virulence of anti-Semitism,” Greenblatt said. “It must serve as a call to action for us as a society to deal once and for all with this hate. People of all faiths should not have to live in fear of going to their house of worship.”
“From Charleston to Pittsburgh to Oak Creek and from Christchurch to Sri Lanka, and now Poway, we need to say ‘enough is enough.’ Our leaders need to stand united against hate and address it both on social media and in our communities,” he concluded.
The US Holocaust Museum also responded, saying, “We are shocked and alarmed at the second deadly attack on an American synagogue in six months, this time at Congregation Chabad in #Poway, on the last day of Passover. It must serve as another wake-up call that antisemitism is a growing and deadly menace.”
The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center called the shooting “a horrific reminder that the flames of hatred still burn strong among some.”
“An attack, on any house of worship, from churches in Sri Lanka and France to synagogues in Jerusalem or Pittsburgh to mosques in Christchurch, are an assault on human dignity and our rights as people of faith to pray to G-d,” the Center added.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jewish community of Poway, California today as their worst nightmare unfolds. 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.”
“There is no room for such hate-filled violence in our society. People of all faiths must stand together and declare that we will never tolerate such hatred,” he added.
The American Jewish Committee stated, “We are shocked and saddened beyond words by reports of a shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California. We pray for the recovery of those injured as we anxiously await further news.”
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