Today marks the two-year anniversary of the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history, it took the lives of eleven beloved members of our American Jewish community. Yet it was not only an attack on the local Pittsburgh Jewish community; it was also an attack on America itself.
The shooting in Pittsburgh was not an isolated incident. From Brooklyn to Poway and from Monsey to Pittsburgh, we have seen hate, fed by dangerous ideologies, threaten the lives and well-being of all communities, including our Jewish community. And as our country stands at the crossroads of the battle for a more inclusive society, one that addresses racial injustice, we Americans must all come together and recommit to continuing the fight against Antisemitism, bigotry and all forms of hate.
Last year, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto spoke to this when he joined our organization’s annual International Mayors Conference in Israel. At the event, he shared with all the participants the lessons he learned from the Tree of Life attack. He then penned an OpEd with American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen that reiterated how the battle against hate is often waged at a local level, but that it cannot be won alone. It requires all of us to join in the fight to reject hatred and bigotry.
So as we remember the eleven innocent souls that were taken by twisted hate, we stand in solidarity with Pittsburgh’s Jewish community and all those who were personally affected by the tragic event. Our hearts go out to the victims’s families, their friends, neighbors, and fellow congregants. And we pay special homage to the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, one that has been a pillar of that incredible city for more than a century. Pittsburgh taught us after the attack about how love triumphs over hate, and for that lesson, our country is grateful.