Editor’s Note: The following statement was released by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and ADL’s South Central Region in response to the October 27 mass shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh.
This morning during Shabbat services a gunman opened fire on the historic Or L’Simcha Congregation (Tree of Life) in Pittsburgh, PA.
Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones, and we pray for the full recovery of all those injured.
We are horrified by this act of wanton bloodshed and grotesque anti-Semitism. While this appears to be an isolated incident, the effects are far-reaching. We urge all Americans to stand together with their neighbors against senseless violence and hateful rhetoric.
“This despicable act of hate and violence has shattered the sanctity of the Sabbath and the congregation of Or L’Simcha will be forever changed. With the emboldened voices of hate being heard throughout society, the possibility of people acting out on that hate increases. We must do everything in our power to combat hate and extremism so that acts of violence like this do not become normalized,” said Aaron Ahlquist, Regional Director of ADL’s South Central Region. “Our heart goes out to the community in Pittsburgh, and to the families of the victims of this terrible act, including the families of the police officers shot in today’s violence. We pray for healing and peace in the aftermath of this hateful act.”
Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans CEO, Arnie D. Fielkow, added, “Shabbat is a time for peaceful worship. This morning should have been a joyful time, as congregants gathered for the bris (baby naming ceremony) of an infant. Instead, that moment was tragically shattered, transformed into a scene of terror and grief. We can and must do better. Together we must drown out hate with love.”