Joint Statement from the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Indiana Board of Rabbis re: Fatal Terror Attack in Pittsburgh Synagogue

Jewish Communities in Indiana are pained and devastated by the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, on Shabbat morning, October 27, 2018.

We are heartbroken, as we send condolences to the families and friends of those murdered in this unspeakable act of terrorism.  We stand in solidarity with, and send prayers for healing to, the entire Pittsburgh Jewish community, as well as to the police officers who risked their lives to protect those in the synagogue.

Within greater Indianapolis, the Jewish community extends our gratitude to local law enforcement, who have increased presence and patrols at our synagogues and other Jewish institutions. We will continue to work closely and communicate with central Indiana law enforcement officials.

This was an act of hate targeted against Jews because they were Jews. Like all hate crimes, the attack was meant to terrorize our community and fragment us from other communities. It will not work. The Jewish community refuses to allow such expressions and acts of antisemitic hate to become normal, and we will continue to assert that respect for, and celebration of, our differences makes our society stronger.

With eleven fatalities reported, this attack represents the single deadliest act against American Jews in the history of the United States. Acts of such hatred, along with the politics of division and the rhetoric of fear and conspiracy, are direct affronts to the cherished American and Jewish values of inclusivity, respect, and pluralism, which are vital for our democracy to thrive. This moment is a painful reminder – not just for Jews, but for all people – of the dangerous consequences when antisemitism, whether in word or by deed, goes unchecked.

As a community with a long history of facing discrimination and violence, the Jewish community will always stand with those who may be singled out for any reason, and will continue to build bridges of respect and understanding among Hoosiers of all faiths, races, ethnicities, and genders. Only by standing together and declaring that antisemitism, racism, xenophobia, and other forms of bigotry have no place in our communities, will we have a chance to stop such pernicious and violent extremism.

We remember:  Joyce Feinberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; David Rosenthal, 54; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 88; and Irving Younger, 69.  May the memories of those killed inside the Tree of Life Synagogue be for a blessing, always.