The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the Rabbinical Council of America express their deepest sympathy to the loved ones of Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was murdered in the horrific attack that took place during Shabbat and Passover prayer services Saturday morning at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in southern California. We pray for the speedy recovery of the rabbi (and ask for prayers for Rav Yisroel ben Chana Priva) and other congregants injured in the shooting.
“This senseless act of anti-Semitic violence was not only a heinous attack on the Jewish community, but an attack on the very foundation of civil society and our collective democratic values,” said Allen Fagin, the Orthodox Union’s executive vice president.
“Our hearts break for the senseless murder and injury of our fellow Jews and all victims of vicious hate crimes,” said Mark (Moishe) Bane, president of the Orthodox Union. “We condemn the dangerous rhetoric that foments such senseless violence and we stand with the Chabad of Poway community and entire southern California Jewish community at this terrible time.”
Rabbi Elazar Muskin, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, stated: “As a nation, committed to freedom and rights for all, we must commit to protect those who are like us in their places of worship, but those who worship differently from us as well.”
“One of the most fundamental rights of citizens of the United States is the freedom to worship as we believe and to live in safety and security. We need to come together as a nation to protect these precious gifts for all members of all faiths,” said Rabbi Mark Dratch, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America.
Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s executive director for public policy, stated: “We are deeply grateful for the rapid response of law enforcement officers and their apprehension of this terrorist. The Orthodox Union will continue to work with federal, state and local officials across the nation to provide the necessary resources to ensure the security of our synagogues and other houses of worship.”
To that end, the Orthodox Union is currently advocating in Congress for additional federal security grants to nonprofit institutions. The Orthodox Union’s state advocacy initiative – Teach CA – in conjunction with its coalition partners, has been advocating for significant security funding improvements in California. As a result, there is currently a bill, introduced by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, that directly addresses this issue. AB 1548 appropriates $15 million for the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program (CNSGP) to assist nonprofit organizations that are likely targets of hate-motivated violence. We urge prompt passage of this important legislation.
We turn to Hashem in prayer for peace and harmony and an end to senseless violence.