Sunday, April 28, 2019

Stronger Than Hate April 2019

Poway Strong: Abq Jew is still too sad, angry, and afraid to even begin to address the tragedy at Chabad of Poway. As he expects many of you, his dear readers, also are.

Yes, these are exactly the same words that Abq Jew published (see Stronger Than Hate) exactly six months ago - on October 28, 2018.

The Jewish communities of New Mexico grieve tonight, as the joy and peace of Passover's end have given way to tragedy in Poway, California. We stand in solidarity with the people of the San Diego area, resolute against anti-Semitism and defiant in the face of any attempt to terrorize our fellow Jews.

Federation will be monitoring the situation in Poway as it develops. Meanwhile, may those whose hearts and bodies have been injured experience healing, and may all who mourn find peace.


The Board and Staff of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico

Pittsburgh, Christchurch, NZ, Sri Lanka and now Poway.

Six months to the day after the worst assault on the Jewish people in American history at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, tragedy has again struck a Jewish house of worship on Shabbat, and on the last day of the Passover holiday. We once again find ourselves sending condolences and prayers to the grief-stricken community of Poway, California.

While our hearts are heavy, our ADL San Diego Regional Office is currently on the ground in Poway working closely with our numerous partners in Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement that have been the cornerstone of many aspects of ADL work in the San Diego area for years. The Sheriff’s Department currently has lead on the case, and at their request, we are jointly leading a community support center to help the victims, families and other affected community members. We are grateful to local law enforcement for their swift response.

Our Center on Extremism is analyzing the social media footprint of the alleged assailant who turned himself over to authorities. And, ADL regional offices around the country are reaching out to local Chabads and Jewish Federations to offer support and ensure that adequate security procedures are in place. We have recently launched a new initiative to enhance the safety, security and resiliency of religious communities in the U.S. with the Secure Community Network of the Jewish Federation. Every community and every country needs to protect religious freedom and safety so that all of us can pray for peace, in peace.

This shooting is a reminder of the enduring virulence of anti-Semitism. It must serve as a call to action for us as a society to deal once and for all with this hate. People of all faiths should not have to live in fear of going to their house of worship. From Charleston to Pittsburgh to Oak Creek and from Christchurch to Sri Lanka, and now Poway, we need to say “enough is enough.” Our leaders need to stand united against hate and address it both on social media and in our communities.

I am now on the ground in Poway where I am able to support our local office’s efforts and the greater community here, which needs to come to grips with this attack. On an MSNBC interview earlier today, I said “We stand together in these difficult moments. This is when it counts.”

Please join me in standing with the community of Poway.

Jonathan Greenblatt
CEO and National Director

Today we saw another horrific act of antisemitic hate at Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, California, six months to the day after the deadly shooting that killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

What we know right now is that a 19-year-old man opened fire in the synagogue this morning, leaving one dead and three injured.

Once again, a young white male has apparently been influenced by dangerous online white supremacist propaganda. And once again, we see how this propaganda can lead to terrorist acts.

A manifesto believed to belong to the shooter said that the March 15 massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, was a “catalyst” for today’s attacks.

The manifesto is filled with common tropes of the white supremacist movement, including many that motivated the New Zealand mosque attacker and the Pittsburgh synagogue attacker, such as the myth of a “white genocide” perpetrated by Jewish people and a host of other antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Today’s attack comes after a year of intense violence inspired by the racist alt-right. Since 2014, the SPLC has counted at least 81 people killed and another 104 injured by individuals influenced by the alt-right.

Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and everyone who is affected by this terrible tragedy.

In solidarity,

Heidi Beirich, Intelligence Project Director

POWAY (CBSLA) — The woman killed in Saturday’s attack on a synagogue in Poway, Calif. had stepped in front of the suspected shooter in order to shield the rabbi.

Witnesses say Lori Kaye was killed after stepping in between the rabbi and the gunman. Those who knew the 60-year-old Kaye described as a very generous person.

The rabbi shot while conducting services in Poway, California, told US media Sunday that his congregation would continue to grow from the “horrific” attack and would not allow terrorism to win, as he described coming face-to-face with the killer.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was in stable condition after being shot in the hand by a gunman ....

When three decades ago, as a young rabbi, he sought to establish the congregation, “Lori was one who helped me secure the construction loan,” the rabbi said. “She’s been a steadfast member, supporter, philanthropist. Just a kind soul. Everyone in the community knew her.”

“She is such a dear friend. I’ve known her for 33 years. I am so heartbroken and saddened by this senseless killing.”

Goldstein urged the US government to step up security at all sites of worship and said the Jewish community would not be cowed.

“We are so grateful to live here in this country that protects our rights to live openly and proudly as Jews. One thing is for sure… we will not be intimidated by this. Terror will not win,” said the rabbi.

“I pray for healing during this time of pain and grief. And I ask that we all do something, something to add more light to combat this evil darkness that’s out there.”

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

Our hearts are shattered by the cold-blooded attack on our brothers and sisters—Jews of all walks of life gathered yesterday at Chabad-Lubavitch of Poway in celebration and prayer to the Almighty on Shabbat and the final day of Passover.

While commemorating the Jewish people’s miraculous liberation from bondage and persecution more than 3,300 years ago, and preparing to remember their departed loved ones at the Yizkor service, these beautiful people were heinously attacked for no reason other than the fact that they were Jewish.

We offer our immense gratitude to G-d that the full scope of the perpetrator’s evil intent to commit mass murder was miraculously unrealized when his rifle inexplicably jammed, though tragically not before snuffing out the life of a most beautiful human being and injuring others.

Indeed, we mourn the holy soul of community trailblazer and activist Lori Gilbert-Kaye—Leah bat Reuven—who was so cruelly torn from our midst, and pray that G-d provide strength to her family and that they find solace in the many people she touched and the myriad activities she set in motion. The fruits of the immense good she planted on this earth will forever serve as extensions of her very life.

We pray for the healing of all the injured, including Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein—Yisroel ben Chana Priva—who lost his index finger while being shot at from almost point-blank range and yet instantly ran to protect the children; 8-year-old Noya bat Eden (Dahan) and her uncle, Almog ben Ruti (Peretz) visiting from Sderot, Israel, and no stranger to terrorist attacks.  

We pray for the healing and comfort of their families, the entire Poway community, the Jewish people worldwide, and the entire world community—men, women and children of every type, each created in the image of the benevolent G-d whose hearts ache from senseless tragedies like these.

The fact that these G-dless acts have multiplied of late underscores with even greater urgency the critical need for proper moral education for our youth, rooted in the belief in a Supreme Being—Whose Eye that Sees and Ear that Hears should preclude anyone from devaluing the life of another human being.

Indeed, we are grateful to live in a country that is predicated on these values and thus protects our right to live openly and proudly as Jews, and we value immensely the friendship and outpouring of support from so many of our fellow Americans.

We are particularly grateful to those whose brave stand against the shooter saved additional lives, including the city’s police department and all levels of government from the municipality on upward who have been working selflessly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Jewish community in Poway and around the country.

At the onset of the Passover holiday only one week ago, at familial and communal seders held worldwide (including those conducted by thousands of Chabad-Lubavitch institutions across the globe), millions of Jews proclaimed that “[though] in every generation they rise to destroy us… the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand,” due to the unbreakable bond of His everlasting covenant with the Jewish people.

In light of this covenant, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, taught that we may not hide or cower even in the face of pure evil. To the contrary, we must drive it away.


Cold-blooded, fanatical, baseless, relentless hatred can be uprooted from its core only by saturating our world with pure, undiscriminating, uninhibited, unyielding love and acts of kindness, and by teaching that to all our children, in our schools and our homes.

Today more than ever, the Rebbe taught, we must spread love and unity; positivity and light. We must fulfill our covenant to spread the light of G-d, to act upon the urgent responsibility we all share to recognize and nurture within each other the loving handiwork of the Creator of all things.

Even as we grieve and mourn, we must increase exponentially our acts of goodness and kindness.

As Jews it surely behooves us also to increase our adherence to our special mitzvot, like donning tefillin (for men) and lighting Shabbat candles (for women), and to help others do the same. While performing our increased mitzvot let us keep in mind that in so doing we are extending the life of Leah bat Reuven.

Apropos to the stirring prophecy read by the Jews gathered at Chabad-Lubavitch of Poway yesterday, along with their brethren around the world, may we finally merit to the time when the evils of war, hate and jealousy will be eradicated forever, when the world will instead be filled with the knowledge of G-d, with the coming of our righteous Moshiach speedily in our days.

With deep pain, endless love and fierce determination,


The Team

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