The Latest from BZBI

We Grieve with the Jewish Community of Pittsburgh

וִיהִי ה’ מִשְׂגָּ֣ב לַדָּ֑ךְ מִשְׂגָּ֗ב לְעִתּ֥וֹת בַּצָּרָֽה:

Adonai is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
(Psalm 9:10)

Our hearts are broken at the news of an anti-Semitic terror attack at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We join with Jews across America and throughout the world in mourning the deaths of the 11 people murdered in their sanctuary yesterday, we pray for their families and for those who were injured, and we grieve with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. As hard as it is to face this kind of violence in our society, an attack on Jews anywhere hits so much closer to home. Like you, we come to synagogue – on Shabbat especially – seeking refuge, comfort, and renewal; the thought that a sacred moment could become the scene of horror and bloodshed adds pain to our sadness.

We view the safety and security of all those who enter our doors as a sacred trust. BZBI’s established security procedures were developed in consultation with the Philadelphia Police Department, security experts from the Jewish Federation, and private consultants. We continue to update our policies on a regular basis, and in the coming days we will again revisit all of our plans. While a secure plan requires keeping many details confidential, we will be holding additional training sessions for staff, teachers, ushers, and others with a role in public safety at BZBI.

As we learn in the Psalms, Judaism can provide solace in times of crisis. We encourage you to reach out to our rabbis as you process your own grief and fears in this time of trouble. Risa Young, our Director of Early Childhood Education, and Shula Cooper, our Director of Youth and Family Education, will follow up with additional information for the families enrolled in our schools. If you have children in your life and are looking for ways to help them process these events, we recommend the following resources:

Donations in support of Tree of Life and the victims’ families can be sent through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

Our hearts break open as we pray for comfort for the bereaved families and the entire Pittsburgh Jewish community. May the One who comforts the Jewish people bring comfort to the Tree of Life Synagogue community along with all those who are stricken with grief in this terrible moment.

Abe Friedman, Senior Rabbi
Yosef Goldman, Rabbi and Director of Sacred Music
Gregg Kanter, President