Jewish community leaders in Oklahoma City lament loss of life in attack on Pittsburgh synagogue

Oklahoma City – The attack on L’Simcha (Tree of Life) Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania led to immediate expressions of sadness and calls for prayer from leaders of the Jewish community in Oklahoma’s capital city.

Chabad Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, in comments sent to CapitolBeatOK, along with his wife Nechoma, said: “Our hearts are broken and saddened by the terrible and brutal murderous attack in Pittsburgh, PA. We mourn the 11 who were killed and pray for the injured.” They asked the Almighty to “comfort their families and the entire Jewish nation.”

Also commenting on the carnage during a Sabbath observance  were leaders of Temple B’Nai Israel. “The sadness of tragic loss of life, as well as the physical and emotional trauma of the survivors, impact all of us who love and live within the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Vered Harris, President Don Karchner and executive director Rick Gratch

The Goldmans affirmed: “No words can describe this. … Jews gathered to pray and celebrate Shabbat were killed for no reason other than the fact that they were Jewish. … 
“The Jewish heart and the heart of every decent human being is torn today. Bleeding with, in pain with our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh. An attack against any innocent person is an attack against all of us. An attack against any Jew is an attack against all Jews. An attack against a house of worship … in is an attack against every American.”

Concerning the October 27 attack, Rabbi and Mrs. Goldman reflected, “How do we explain this senseless hate? What do we tell our children? Today more than ever, we need to unite with love and continue to spread a message of tolerance and acceptance of all. … We will continue to walk to our Houses of Prayer proudly.”

Continuing, they thanked law enforcement agencies, “doing everything in their power every day to protect and safeguard all citizens. Thank you to the Police who have arranged extra patrols for the Chabad Community Center and all other Jewish organizations.

“The broad show of support and unity from all across the community and beyond is heartening. We … express our deepest appreciation to the countless, friends, neighbors, strangers, elected officials etc.” who sent “condolences, shared grief and utter outrage.”

Welcoming conversations with all feeling fearful, they concluded, “Say a chapter of Psalms in memory of those murdered, hug your loved ones, check your Mezuzahs …, speak out against hate and intolerance and prioritize your life to focus on meaningful living. … [M]ay we each bring much comfort and peace at this extraordinarily painful time.” 

The Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City held a Sunday evening, October 28 gathering at Temple B’Nai Israel, “So we can be together as a Jewish community to mourn those murdered as well as pray for the healing of those who were injured.”