The Avodah Blog

Our Hearts Are Broken – Statement on Poway Synagogue Shooting

Once again, our hearts are broken.

There are no words to express how devastated we are after Saturday’s hate-filled attack at Chabad of Poway, on the close of Passover, just six months after the Pittsburgh shooting.

Saturday’s event was not an isolated incident. We are still in mourning for the 250 killed in Sri Lanka, the 50 at Christchurch, the 11 at Tree of Life synagogue, the nine murdered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., the six lives taken at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, and too many others.

There is no doubt that Saturday’s attack was fueled by antisemitism. Religiously and racially-motivated attacks are not new, but they are on the rise in an ever-alarming way, and we will not overcome them in isolation. It must be on us to collectively root out white supremacy and white nationalism in all forms. This means joining in solidarity with our neighbors, standing by people of color, Muslims, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQAI+ individuals and all those who are targets of prejudice and hatred in America. It also means we must work to pass comprehensive gun reform to keep weapons of mass murder out of the hands of dangerous individuals.

In Judaism, when someone dies, we say, “May their memory be for a blessing.” Lori Gilbert Kaye z”l, 60, was a hero, stepping in front of bullets to save her friend and rabbi. Those who knew her said that this was her last good deed, after leading a life dedicated to charity and community. As we mourn this senseless tragedy, may we make her life a blessing by committing to acts of good around us, being in deep partnership by all those affected by hatred and standing at each other’s side – every person, of every race, citizen status, religion, and identity in times of much-needed healing.

We hold all those affected in Poway and around the country in our hearts and we send love to Chabad and all Jewish communities in the San Diego area. May we have the strength to fight white supremacy and anti-semitism in all its forms.

May we find healing and may love conquer all,

Cheryl Cook,
Executive Director, Avodah

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Urge your legislators to co-sponsor and call for the immediate passage of the Background Check Expansion Act, the most comprehensive gun violence prevention measure to be voted on in decades.
  2. Watch and share Avodah’s “Speak Torah to Power” talk on anti-semitism and solidarity, featuring Dove Kent.
  3. Support organizations working to eradicate anti-semitism and white nationalism on all levels. You can give to Avodah at avodah.net/donate and help Chabad of Poway recover from tragedy here.

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