On this holy day of Shabbat, at the conclusion of Passover, the peace of sacred worship has been shattered.
We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the tragic shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California. One member of the congregation was murdered; three others were injured, including a child. We hope and pray for the dead and injured, their families and community, and for the law enforcement officers who prevented further injury and loss of life.
In yet another attack on our brothers and sisters, we are reminded of the dark shadow of hate that lies in the hearts of many, and that there are those would would do the Jewish people harm as we attempt to worship in peace. This unspeakable act was cruelly committed on the six-month anniversary of the tragedy in Pittsburgh, when another attacker stormed into a synagogue and murdered eleven Jewish worshipers, changing a community forever.
This is also a painful and urgent reminder of the consequences of hate speech. Attacks like this do not occur in a vacuum; when hateful rhetoric and nonviolent hate crimes are allowed to become a "normal" occurrence, this is the inevitable result. We can no longer afford to treat hate speech against Jews or any other minority as anything less than a precursor to violence and bloodshed.
We sincerely hope that, in time, the Jewish community of Poway will find some measure of peace. All Americans must join together to halt the expansion of hate, to protect ourselves, our country, and our future.
American Jewish Congress