30 Jan My Visit to Pittsburgh
My Visit to Pittsburgh.
Chairman of the Executive Isaac Herzog visited Pittsburgh for Shabbat in support of the Jewish community following the synagogue massacre that took the lives of 11 Jews.
I'm proud of the work The Jewish Agency for Israel has done in Pittsburgh in response to this shameless act of hate.
The support that I witnessed in Pittsburgh, from every public space, was deeply moving. In the airport, on the front page of the local newspaper, at the Tree of Life memorial —fellowship blossomed. Jews and non-Jews alike, have come together to share the message that Pittsburgh—and the world—has no place for hate.
On Friday, I attended the funeral of 97-year-old, Rose Mallinger — the oldest of the victims. I also visited the Tree of Life synagogue, where the attack took place. I lit a memorial candle together with Tom Wolf, the governor of Pennsylvania, and spoke with members of the community about the tragedy.
I was grateful to be able to join in prayers with congregants from the Tree of Life synagogue on this first Shabbat following the attack. When I addressed a joint synagogue service, I told the huge crowd that the true answer to a gunman shouting, “Kill all Jews” is the loud “Shma Israel”—“Hear O Israel” that we recited together at the service. We talked of the words of Psalm 29, “G-d will give His people strength and bless His people with peace.”
I also witnessed incredible inter-faith solidarity. I met Wasi Mohamed, executive director of the Pittsburgh Islamic Center. The center raised $70,000 for victims’ families. “We just want to know what you need,” he said to the Jewish community.
I'm proud of the work The Jewish Agency for Israel has done in Pittsburgh in response to this shameless act of hate. We were able to partner with Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send a team of post-trauma and grief specialists from the Israel Trauma Coalition to Pittsburgh. We have been providing our Shlichim (Israeli Emissaries) with extra guidance and support, so they can best serve the community during this difficult time. And, they have been doing exceptional and essential work. Additionally, Pittsburgh’s longtime Partnership2Gether region, Karmiel-Misgav, has already made plans to build a permanent monument in the town.
As I said in my speech at the General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America less than two weeks ago. We were, we are, and we shall always be reliant on one another. Our alliance is important in times of celebration; it is vital in times of grief. We will come out of this stronger, together. Hate will not win.