Faith Communities Mourn alongside Jewish Americans

October 27, 2018

For immediate release

Contact: Catherine Orsborn, Director, Shoulder to Shoulder, Catherine.Orsborn@s2scampaign.org

The mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh has devastated all of our faith communities. We abhor the rising levels of hate and violence in the United States. No one in our country should fear for their safety because of their faith.

We are also deeply troubled by the gunman’s anti-Semitic and anti-refugee statements on social media. We reaffirm our commitment to stand alongside one another to defend our rights and to welcome people of all backgrounds who seek refuge in America. We celebrate the work the Jewish community is doing to welcome refugees and to make this country a better place for all. We vow to work harder to make our country and our communities free of hate, bigotry, and violence.

Leaders of Shoulder to Shoulder faith communities spoke today on the incredible tragedy:

Dr. Sayyid Syeed, President of the Islamic Society of North America, said, “I weep with my Jewish siblings today in this moment of unspeakable tragedy. Many times the Jewish community has come alongside American Muslims in the face of violence, and today we stand with them in mourning, and in committing ourselves to work together against all forms of violence and hate.”

Rabbi Burton Visotzky, Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, said, “In the wake of the unspeakable tragedy in Pittsburgh, in a synagogue of my own Conservative Movement whose rabbi was my student, I stand with Shoulder to Shoulder to deplore the hatred and gun violence we have experienced. It is not surprising that the condolences I have received today have been, first and foremost, from my Muslim friends and colleagues all over the world. They know that an attack on any one house of worship is an attack on all places of prayer. They know that hatred for one religion is a danger to all. And we all know that the only way to overcome this hatred, taught of late from the very center of American power, is to stand Shoulder to Shoulder united in love and standing together for American values and decency.”

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said: “From Pittsburgh to Portland, and around the world, Jews are living in fear. Anti-Semitism is on the rise. Public acts of hatred and bigotry against Jews are commonplace. As Christians, and particularly as Lutherans, we deplore and reject this bigotry…We are reminded that hate-filled violence knows no bounds — whether a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, a Christian church in Charleston, or a Jewish synagogue In Pittsburgh. As people of faith, we are bound together not only in our mourning, but also in our response.”

Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Associate Professor and Director of Multifaith Studies & Initiatives at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, PA, said, “This terrible event underscores the need for Americans of conscience to double our efforts to resist the climate of hate in our country. That climate is putting us all at risk, especially — but not limited to — people of color, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs, sexual and gender minorities and immigrants. This is not a matter of more guns, but of security built on the values of diversity and respect on which America was founded.”

Cardinal Daniel N DiNardo, President of the US Council of Catholic Bishops, said, “To our brothers and sisters of the Jewish community, we stand with you. We condemn all acts of violence and hate and yet again, call on our nation and public officials to confront the plague of gun violence. Violence as a response to political, racial, or religious differences must be confronted with all possible effort. God asks nothing less of us…May Almighty God be with them and bring them comfort at this tragic time.”

Amanda Tyler, Executive Director of Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, said, “An attack on worshippers is an attack on religious liberty. Like so many, I’m heartbroken, grieving this vicious act of violence and hatred. Lord have mercy. I’m praying for Tree of Life synagogue and all our sisters and brothers whose very existence is under threat. Love your neighbor.”

Meryl Chertoff, Inclusive America Project, said, “This attack on the Jewish community is an attack on all communities of faith in the US.”

We encourage those looking to take action to show up for vigils around the country, many of which are being organized by our friends at Bend the Arc. Additionally, the Muslim community is mobilizing to raise funds for the victims here.

You can find additional statements from other Shoulder to Shoulder member organizations below:

From Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Union for Reform Judaism:

From Rabbi Jack Moline, Interfaith Alliance:

From The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church:

From T’ruah:

From the National Council of Churches:

From the American Baptist Churches, USA:

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Shoulder to Shoulder is a coalition of 35 national religious denominations and faith-based organizations dedicated to addressing and opposing anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States.