Standing Strong with Pittsburgh and Against Hatred

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Sent on behalf of Arthur Goldberg, Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County Board Chair, and Matthew C. Levin, President & CEO

Our hearts, prayers and tears are with the Pittsburgh Jewish community. We and all Jewish communities around the world join in grief and outrage at the horrific violence against members of our Jewish family who gathered to worship and experience the peace of Shabbat in Congregation Etz Chayim, Tree of Life.

Our hearts break for the families of the eleven innocent individuals lost in this tragedy, and we pray for healing of the congregants and courageous police officers injured, and all those emotionally stricken.

Unfortunately, as Jews, we know all too well the depths where hatred and extremism meet. We have seen that anti-Semitic rhetoric and deeds have been sharply escalating. Here in our own vibrant, diverse Jewish community, we must face up to the real dangers at hand for our people and other vulnerable groups. We must use this time to unite our community, to ensure that another horrific, hate-inspired act never happens to anyone, Jew and non-Jew.

May those who grieve our Pittsburgh brothers and sisters murdered in cold blood be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. May the memories of those lost always be for blessing, and a call to action for all of us.

We call on all people of conscience to condemn in the strongest possible terms these vicious murders by an avowed anti-Semite in Pittsburgh. We will not tolerate hate-spurred violence in Charleston, Orlando, Charlottesville and beyond.

It is time for each of us to be introspective and decide how, as individuals and collectively, we can make sure those who seek to do us harm hear the words, “No more.”

We will be sending further messages with opportunities for our community to stand together to overcome anti-Semitism.

We must also take this opportunity to assure you that the security, safety and well-being of all those on our campus throughout the week are, as always, our Federation’s utmost priority. The schools, offices and agencies, and all areas on our Federation campus are continually guarded by a highly skilled and constantly prepared security force that is fully aware and vigilant each and every day. Our gated and secure campus is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and our security undergoes continual improvements through training, personnel, technology and other equipment.

Our Federation continues to work closely with local, county and state departments as well as the Department of Homeland Security for optimal information and readiness. We are grateful to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, to Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer, and to local police departments for quickly responding to our request for increased vigilance and presence at our Jewish institutions in this troubling time.