Statement on Shabbat Shooting at Chabad of Poway, CA

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, and our Greater Washington Jewish community are angry and horrified by yet another senseless, violent, antisemitic attack on an American synagogue, this time at the Chabad in Poway, California. One person has been killed and three others, including a child, have been injured. We mourn the loss of life, pray for the quick recovery of the injured, and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Poway and San Diego Jewish communities.

This heinous act of hate was perpetrated against innocent adults and children peacefully gathered to celebrate Shabbat and Passover and recite the sacred Yizkor memorial prayer for those we have loved and lost. It comes six months to the day after our nation’s deadliest ever act of antisemitism at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. We are deeply angered at the escalating string of attacks on synagogues and the continued, increasing tide of antisemitic incidents overall in the United States.

Enough is enough. From attacks against the Muslim community in Northern California this week to last week’s attacks against Christians in Sri Lanka to the burning of black churches in Louisiana, we must not allow our society to be ripped apart by the scourge of hatred, resentment, scapegoating, and polarization that we are now witnessing. As a country, we must stand together and condemn all forms of hatred and bigotry. We must be clear that language matters. Openness to hate speech creates openness to deadly actions.

Houses of worship of all faiths are places of holiness, reverence for life, and peace. At their best, they reflect the highest ideals and aspirations of our democracy and of the human spirit. We must put a stop to the encroaching normalization of the kind of attacks suffered today at Chabad, at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and at mosques, churches, Sikh temples, and other worship spaces in the United States and worldwide. We join all people of good will in condemning the rising tide of white nationalism, racism, antisemitism, and other hatred that is at the root of this violence. An attack on one community is an attack on all Americans and on everything for which our nation stands. We must stand together and condemn all such attacks.

Within our local community in the Greater Washington area, the JCRC and The Jewish Federation have been in close contact with all local and regional law enforcement agencies. Patrols and police presence have been increased at synagogues and other Jewish institutions in our region. We thank our partners in law enforcement for their support and their speedy response, and we will continue to work with them to coordinate community security.

JSSA, the Jewish Social Service Agency, is available to help people individually or through our institutions and synagogues to cope with tragic events and to promote the resiliency of our community. If you would like to inquire about counseling for yourself or your family, please contact Scott Kreeger at (301) 610-8381, or inquire through JSSA’s intake department at (301) 816-2633.

Ha’makom yenahem etkhem betokh she’ar avelei Tziyon vi’Yerushalayim. May the memory of the precious life lost today be for a blessing, and may God console those who have been impacted among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.