Once again, precisely 6 months after the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, we are heartsick that another premeditated act of antisemitism has taken a life and injured worshipers at Chabad of Poway, California.
We mourn the loss of Lori Gilbert-Kaye z”l, who was fatally shot, while trying to save Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, during morning services. Three others were wounded, including a child and the rabbi.
This act of terrorism targeted a house of worship on the final Shabbat in Passover. It was an attack on all people of faith and Federation appreciates the many statements of solidarity and condolence that have come to us from Christians, Muslims and other faith communities in Atlanta.
How we are responding:
First, we want to reassure the community that Federation’s Community-Wide Security (CWS) is actively engaged in our protection. The program provides a single point of contact for critical incident coordination, information and intelligence sharing and site assessment for all Jewish Atlanta.
Since the events in Poway, Cathal Lucy, our Director of Community-Wide Security, has been in constant contact with federal, state, and local law enforcement along with our Homeland Security partners. Currently, there is no information to suggest any threats to Jewish institutions in Atlanta.
Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, many of our area communities and municipal law enforcement agencies have reached out and tell us they’ve increased patrols and presence in and around the Atlanta Jewish community and facilities.
What you can do:
Express your solidarity and your faith! We encourage everyone to attend services this coming Shabbat, as Jewish Atlanta comes together in a Solidarity Shabbat. All of our synagogues welcome you and you can find a list of congregations and worship times at the Atlanta Jewish Connector’s synagogue tab.
The Chabad Community across Georgia has very strong ties to Chabad of Poway. They extend open arms to all who want to be in shul this Shabbat. You can find a list of Chabad congregations here.
Urge all Members of Congress to join the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism here.
ADL has a number of education resources (below) for a range of uses both personal and in the classroom, below, as well as a blog on the situation that is being updated in real time as more details are uncovered.
- Empowering Young People in the Aftermath of Hate (for parents/families and educators)
- 5 Tips for Talking with Children about Hate Incidents (shortened version of Empowering Young People)
- Helping Students Make Sense of News Stories about Bias and Injustice (teaching tool)
- Gun Violence and Mass Shootings (Table Talk parent/family discussion guide)
- Anti-Semitic Incidents: Being an Ally, Advocate and Activist (lesson plan)
- Deadly Shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue (lesson plan)
The Jewish Federation of San Diego County and Jewish Community Foundation have opened a fund to meet the immediate physical, psychological and spiritual needs of the victims and others impacted. Here is the link to donate: www.jewishinsandiego.org/donate.Trauma.
In the Face of Tragedy, do Good!
Finally, as Poway’s Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein has urged on television this morning, use the tragedy as an opportunity to shine more light and do good in the world. Today, for example, the Jewish community joined together with the greater Atlanta community at Hunger Walk to raise funds for hunger relief. Together, through acts of chesed (loving kindness) we can show the world that we will not be intimidated and that the Jewish people lives!
P.S.: Sensible Security Guidance for Everyone:
We urge all community members to maintain heightened awareness and vigilance. Federation’s CWS program provide suggested security guidance and protective measures to assist organizations and facilities on their security posture. See the guidance here.