Dear CJDS Community,
We are shocked and heartbroken hearing the news out of Pittsburgh today. The mass shooting today at the Etz Chaim (Tree of Life) Synagogue is the deadliest attack on the American Jewish community in the more than four centuries of our existence here in what many of our ancestors called the goldene medinah, the gilded land. Eleven people were murdered, others remain in critical condition, many others witnessed a trauma from which they may never fully recover, simply because they opted to pray and study sacred text with their community as Jews. This is a moment for our community - proudly Jewish and proudly American - that will divide time into "before Pittsburgh" and "after Pittsburgh."
By its very definition, terrorism targets civilians as they go about their daily lives. We now add the events of Shabbat morning to the tragedy at the church in Charleston and to the long list of terror attacks in Israel: going to synagogue, praying as Jews, will never feel as safe again. A makom kadosh - a holy space - has been defiled through this heinous act of hatred.
We will continue to monitor this terrible news as more information and additional facts become available.
We will formulate a community response in the coming days, but rest assured we will take care of our students come Monday morning. We will love and support each other, and we will move forward together. This only strengthens our resolve to teach our students to be upstanders and fight hatred and bigotry whenever they see it.
May the memories of the victims be for a blessing.
יהי זכרם ברוך
The Educational Leadership Team