October 29, 2018
Dear NCJW NY Community,
Today is a day unlike any other. For many of us, it is a struggle to return to our daily lives after the deadliest attack on American Jews in history, when a gunman opened fire inside the Tree of Life Synagogue. The knowledge that such an attack could happen here — in a country that adopted freedom of religion as a bedrock founding principle — is difficult to accept. Our lives as American Jews have been irrevocably altered. Our outrage must be voiced, and must be heard.
And yet in other ways, today is just like any other. We are once again confronted with the effects of enduring anti-Semitism, often hidden just beneath the surface. We are frustrated by our nation’s failure to enact common sense gun safety laws. We are pained by the lack of adequate mental health services, and deeply disturbed by the rising levels of vitriol and tribalism in our current political discourse.
As we mourn the deaths of those in Pittsburgh, we also recognize that this attack is not only about the individual residents of this unique neighborhood. It is representative of a culture that has allowed hate to fester, and of laws that have made it all to easy to turn hateful thoughts into violent action.
The shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue has changed us, yes. But let it not change what is best about us. At NCJW NY, we believe that the Jewish values of dignity and justice for all people, and the concept of “tikkun olam,” compel us to fight for social and economic justice.
Let us redouble those efforts in the months and years to come.
Board President, NCJW NY
Andrea Salwen Kopel
Executive Director, NCJW NY