The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey is saddened and outraged by yet another violent antisemitic attack on an American synagogue, this time at the Chabad in Poway, California. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.
Within our local community, The Jewish Federation has been in close contact with Rabbis, Executive Directors and representatives as well as local and regional law enforcement agencies. Patrols and police presence have been increased at synagogues, Chabads and other Jewish institutions in our area. We thank our partners in law enforcement for their support and we will continue to work with everyone to coordinate community security.
We ask that we all remain diligent in securing our facilities and encourage continuous communication with local law enforcement authorities.
We stand with the Chabad of Poway synagogue and denounce hatred in all its forms, today and always.
Statement issued by The Rabbinical Association in the Heart of New Jersey
It is now the time to act for the Lord, for they have overturned your teaching.
This Saturday we were alerted to a hate-fueled attack on our collective community— an attack against fellow Jews and an attack against fellow Americans at the Chabad synagogue in Poway, California. This attack is felt particularly hard in its violation of both our sacred day of Shabbat and the final day of Pesach, the festival where we celebrate our deliverance from tyrants. It is felt particularly hard on the sixth-month anniversary of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, it is felt less than two months later from the Christchurch mosque attacks, and it is felt during the same week as the Sri Lanka Easter attacks. Our sense of safety in our sacred sanctuaries is shattered over and over and over again, and we, in our own Jewish community, are once again reminded of the violence and hate raging through this world.
We have benefited greatly from the pluralism and acceptance common throughout America and the Western World over this past half-century. We thrived in our sense of safety, in our cooperative relationships with the people among whom we have lived. But now, our peaceful existence among the nations is under attack. Extremism is on the rise, throughout the world, and right here in our nation. It is fueled by both encouragement and silence, and it is armed by incredibly easy access to dangerous and lethal weaponry.
How many more attacks will we allow? Extremism is here, a pursuer at the heels of God’s children. These attacks are not isolated to places, communities, religious groups, racial groups, cultures, or any other categories that may divide us. These attacks are against all those who believe in coexistence, pluralism, and basic human dignity. Our way of life is under attack by those who abrogate all that is sacred.
The time to act is now. Speak up on behalf of the other, and speak up on behalf of ourselves. Speak up to those who refuse to fight hate and racism and prejudice and Antisemitism. Speak up, and louder, when those with a platform spew this divisiveness. Speak up to demand that all our leaders take active measures to prevent these kinds of tragedies. Remain a thorn in their sides until we are all brought back to a place where we can gather during our sacred moments without fear of who might show up at the door.
Our prayers are with our brethren in Poway. We pray for the soul of the woman murdered, we pray for the physical healing of those injured, we pray for the spiritual and psychological healing of their entire community.
Our thoughts are on our own communities, thinking about the security precautions and vigilance and the wellbeing of our own.
We must go farther and do more, however, to ensure that change finally comes. We must treat today’s tragedy with the action it deserves.
The Maharal of Prague wrote, “good will pale in the face of the sin of not protesting against an emerging communal evil... a pious person will be accountable for having been able to prevent it and not doing so."
Each of us is blessed with the God-given power to influence the course of this world. The time for using it now.
The Rabbinical Association in the Heart of New Jersey