These were the Tree of Life synagogue victims:
Baruch Dayan Ha-Emet:
Joyce Feinberg- 75
Richard Gotfried- 65
Rose Malinger- 97 (Holocaust survivor)
Jerry Rabinowitz- 66
Cesil Rosenthal (brother)- 59
David Rosenthal (brother)- 54
Bernice Simon (wife)- 84
Sylvan Simon (husband)- 86
Daniel Stein- 71
Melvin Wax- 88
Irving Youngner- 69
May their memories be for a blessing. May their blood be avenged. May they have smooth transitions. May this never happen again. May we all honor their memories by taking action to prevent it. May the blatant anti-semitism happening every single day around us finally be seen for what it is, Jew hatred, and may we put a stop to it.
Share the names, make it real. The silence over the loss of Jewish lives is deafening.
Utterly broken… Jill Moray Reichman
All I have 24/7 is gratitude. With all of the reactions to the shooting in a Jewish community in Pittsburg, my community in Los Angeles is more on guard. I drove to teach my Yoga class in the Hollywood 24 Hour Fitness, and was promptly turned away because of a crime scene lockdown.
Violence can happen anywhere, anytime. I felt so grateful that I was not inside, and nobody else got hurt except for the assailant with the gun. I have been reading how people had family and friends from the Tree of Life synagogue, and knew some of the 11 victims personally.
Below are voices I resonate with,
They are amazed that in America a place of worship needs armed guards.
For many years, almost every synagogue I’ve attended has had armed guards. Security was always necessary in America for jewish places of worship. We have been the focal point of so much hateful politicking, that this should come as no surprise…but somehow it does.
It shouldn’t shock you.
When UNESCO declares my temple a Palestinian heritage site and gives credence to claims that we stole our own land…and disassociates our property from us.
When UNESCO declares our burial places a Palestinian heritage site, they wipe us from history.
When the Jewish prime minister is boycotted by a political party, because that parties leader wants to arm those that seek our absolute destruction. This should come as no surprise.
When our religious values are openly condemned as bigotry and racist–by our own people no less–we become targets.
When groups designed to promote equality ban us from their marches…
When anti-jewish rhetoric is the norm on college campuses…
When professors decline to write letters of recommendations for “Zionist’s”…
When their leader calls us termites and we attempt to maneuver around it and still legitimize it…
When the word “nazi” is used so commonly, that it minimizes the greatest human tragedy of the modern era…
When idiotic ideologies of intesectionality are accepted forms of political theory…
When we get racially lumped in with the Europeans that drove us out in recent memory…
When the UN passes resolutions against our people and homeland, while ignoring global atrocities….
When they chant “from river to the sea…”
When BDS is actually a thing, and States have to pass laws disallowing it; but no such boycott is considered for any other country on earth….
When Jews are forbidden from entering certain countries, but those countries sit on the Human Rights Commissions of the UN…
When El Al airlines cannot fly over certain airspaces….
When political parties openly have anti-Jewish sentiment (e.g., England’s Labour Party)…
When Jewish histories are being erased from history (e.g. Poland’s denial of its role in the holocaust OR the entire Arab world’s eradication of its Jewish population and their history)…
Hatred should come as no surprise.
From the Desk of Rabbi Zajac
In Solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish Community
We are heartbroken and pained by the horrific attack that took place on our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh. This is an attack on all of us, and we grieve with the families who have lost loved ones and pray for the recovery of those who are injured
* * *
The Rebbe often reminded us of the Posuk “and the living shall take to heart.” Alongside the natural mourning and grief, there is a need to focus on things that will result in action and positive change.
Here are some suggestions:
Increase in unity.The attacker harbored senseless hatred towards Jewish people. We must increase our love for every one of our people. We are all one family. This is the time for each of us to reach out to someone we haven’t gotten along with or haven’t spoken to in a while.
Show Jewish pride.Especially at this time, we must show everyone that we are proud of our Jewish identity. Let’s affix mezuzahs on our doorposts; wear our kippahs proudly. We are proud of our Judaism!
Add a mitzvah in memory of the victims. Whether wrapping tefillin, lighting Shabbat candles or any other mitzvah, let’s each add one more act to our routine and dedicate it to the memory of those ruthlessly killed.
Come to synagogue.Even if we haven’t done so regularly, let’s attend synagogue together and show the world that our synagogues are filled with vibrancy, love and life. Let’s fill every synagogue to capacity this coming Shabbos!
Let us pray that Hashem send healing and comfort to the grieving families. We pray for the day when all evil and hatred will vanish from the world, with the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days.
In the merit of our collective Mitzvos, may we each bring much comfort and peace at this extraordinarily challenging time.
Rabbi Avraham Zajac
Chabad-Lubavitch of South La Cienega
Jews are like one big dysfunctional family.
We argue a lot. We fight a lot. We disagree about everything you can possibly imagine. We argue about law. We argue about politics. We argue about food.
And yet, within this somewhat dysfunctional family, we also laugh with each other and we love one another. We celebrate together and we break bread together, remembering times thousands of years ago as if it happened yesterday.
Maybe it’s because our history unites us and our story unifies us and our nationhood defines us.
Our story is about a journey that continues from ancient times to modern times, from the middle east to the middle west, from the dawn of empires to the collapse of them too.
But while it’s often a story of love and celebration, it’s also all too often a story of pain and of loss and of suffering.
Today, pain visited us once again. And so did loss. And so did suffering.
Because in a small congregation in Pittsburgh, someone came into our home, into our sanctuary, into our lives and viciously ripped them away.
11 people were murdered as our family was attacked and our loved ones massacred. Again. Just like before. Just like too many befores.
So today, we cried together and we bled together and we weeped together.
Just like we’ve wept before.
Just like we’ll weep again.
To antisemites, all Jews are the same: American Jews, Israeli Jews, French Jews, British Jews, Zionist Jews, not-so-Zionist Jews, Orthodox Jews, Reform Jews, secular Jews, pro-settlements Jews, anti-settlements Jews, liberal Jews, conservative Jews, pro-Trump jews, anti-Trump Jews, and so on.
All these labels do not matter to antisemites. To Nazis, even Jews who had converted were still Jews. To the killer in Pittsburgh, USA, the Jews he killed were just Jews, nothing else.
I hope that after the Pittsburgh tragedy, the Jewish people will come together like never before. And I hope that the allies of Jews will see themselves as the allies of all Jews, not just some.
“Jews were killed in a synagogue. They were killed because they are Jews. The location was chosen because it is a synagogue. We must never forget that. We are one!” Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו Amen.