By Rabbi Choni Marozov
Our hearts are shattered by the heinous and horrific attack on our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh. We mourn the 11 holy souls who were so cruelly torn from our midst, and pray to God to provide strength and comfort to their shocked and grieving families. Their unfathomable pain is shared by the entire Jewish people and all people worldwide.
We further pray for the complete and speedy healing of the injured, of the survivors and of the entire Pittsburgh community.
No words can possibly describe this pure evil. Jews who gathered to pray and celebrate Shabbat were killed for no reason other than the fact that they were Jewish. Again: While praying! On Shabbat! The killer’s bullets were aimed at us all. “All Jews must die,” he yelled while opening fire.
What is the remedy to such senseless hatred? What can we possibly do to eradicate it?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe of righteous memory answered this a number of times, with clarity and conviction:
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.
Today more than ever, we need to spread love and unity; positivity and light.
We must continue to walk to our synagogues proudly. And, even as we grieve and mourn, we must increase exponentially our acts of goodness and kindness.
Some of the injured were law enforcement heroes who willingly chose to put their own lives in danger to help others. We stand in awe of their courage and dedication. And we are grateful to live in a country that protects our right to live openly and proudly as Jews. We value immensely the friendship and outpouring of support from so many of our fellow Americans.
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To help illuminate this thick darkness and eradicate evil, please consider one or more of the suggestions below. Our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh — and the entire world — need our prayers and mitzvot (good deeds) now more than ever.
Here are some suggestions:
- Show Jewish pride and join the Mitzvot for Pittsburgh campaign. The rabbis, rebbetzins and staff of Chabad-Lubavitch in Pittsburgh are committed to increasing the sense of Jewish unity and Jewish pride and have called for a campaign to install (affix) 1,100 Mezuzot in the Pittsburgh region: 100 Mezuzot in the memory of each victim that lost their lives in the attack. Go to chabadscv.com for more information.
- Send condolences. Send a note to the families of the victims. Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis and rebbetzins in Pittsburgh will hand deliver your notes to the families. Go to chabadscv.com for more information.
- Increase in unity. The attacker harbored senseless hatred toward the Jewish people. We must increase our love toward each and every one of them. We are all one family! This is definitely the right time for each of us to reach out to someone we’ve disagreed with and grown apart from.
- Come to synagogue. Even if we haven’t done so regularly, let’s attend synagogue together and show the world that our synagogues are filled with vibrancy, love and life. Let’s fill every synagogue to capacity this Shabbat!
- Let us beseech God to send healing and comfort to the grieving families and pray that he quickly eradicate all evil and hatred and usher in the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days.
- Let us pray fervently for the complete and speedy recovery of the injured.
In the merit of our collective mitzvot, may we each bring much comfort and peace at this extraordinarily challenging time.
With deep pain, endless love and fierce determination,
Rabbi Choni Marozov Chabad of SCV
P.S. In the past few years we’ve had security assessments done at Chabad, and thanks to a generous Homeland Security grant, we were able to install security cameras, an alarm system, lighting and other security measures at Chabad. We are in touch with the Sheriff’s Station regarding added surveillance during services and scheduled programs. We thank the local sheriffs for being there in our time of need.