The shocking news of the murderous violence that took place at The Tree of Life Synagogue this Shabbat in Pittsburgh exceeds our capacity for words. The scourge of antisemitism which we witnessed last year in Charlottesville has not yet been extinguished in our nation. Not only was the joy of the Shabbat shattered, but the celebration of life marked by a bris – the entrance of a new-born infant into the Covenant of our people – was savagely ruptured.
Tomorrow will be a day of reckoning for the toxicity plaguing our world and how to go about repairing it. Tonight we remember the words of the Shulchan Aruch that state that it may not be possible to comfort mourners in the moment of their rawest grief. Instead, we dwell in the valley of tears, recalling our fallen sisters and brothers who were killed in this horrific tragedy. Tehyenah nafshoteihen tzrurot bi-tzror hahayim – may the souls of those murdered in Pittsburgh today be bound up in the bond of eternal life.
Rabbi David Ellenson
Interim President, Chancellor Emeritus