Category Archives: Statements

CJP, JCRC Condemn Synagogue Attack in Germany

CJP, JCRC, and Greater Boston’s Jewish community are filled with grief for the victims of a brazen attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany. Timed to occur during Yom Kippur, one of the holiest and most solemn days on the Jewish calendar, the attack came as dozens of worshippers were inside the synagogue. More lives would have been lost if not for the secured doors of the building.

We join with the global Jewish community and the people of Germany in condemning the attack and in offering prayers for the victims and their families.

The aim of the attacker was made clear by statements leading up to and during the shooting and echoed the words used by terrorists and extremists who attacked synagogues and houses of worship from Poway to Pittsburgh to Christchurch.  Antisemitism and the ideology of hatred in its many forms are antithetical to our faith and an affront to humanity. We share with Jews and other minority groups around the world deep concerns over rising antisemitism, xenophobia, and racism in Germany, throughout Europe, and around the world.

For the victims, we will mourn. For the living, we will continue to fight for a better, more just world.

We pray for the recovery of the injured and hope that the families of those we lost find comfort in their sadness.

Letter Urges State support of Non Profit Security Grants

JCRC works with our public officials to create partnerships for safety and security enhancements at vulnerable non-profit institutions. With the alarming rise in threats and violence against the Jewish community, it’s clear that more is needed. JCRC launched a community wide campaign to fully fund a grant program to help synagogues, day schools, community centers, and other targeted institutions to make vital security enhancements. We stand with our partners of every faith and creed to denounce hatred and demand justice.

JCRC organized a letter, signed by 143 Jewish institutional leaders from across the Commonwealth, to Governor Baker asking for full funding of the state Non-Profit Security Grant program.

Click here for the PDF of the Letter

Below is the text of the letter:

May 20, 2019

Dear Governor Baker:

While celebrating the end of Passover, the celebration of the Jewish people’s liberation, we were confronted yet again with the horror of another murderous attack on a Jewish synagogue in Poway, California, six months to the day of the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The sanctity of our houses of worship has been pierced by the horror of antisemitism and our sense of security is in peril.

While we are grateful to our partners in government for denouncing violence, hatred, and antisemitism and offering comfort and offering healing in our time of need, our communities require more. Across the country, threats and acts of violence have escalated against synagogues, black churches, mosques, cultural centers and other religious institutions. Seemingly every week, we join with clergy and leaders from every walk of life, decrying the bloodshed and pleading for sanity, and a restoration to calm. But antisemitism is on the rise, even here. A recent ADL audit found that “people across Massachusetts continue to experience antisemitism at historically high rates" as we record the fourth highest number of incidents (following California, New York and New Jersey), highlighting the awareness that this tide of hatred toward Jews isn’t dissipating anytime soon.

Several states reacted swiftly, by partnering with at-risk institutions to develop security enhancements and protocols, including: The State of New York offered $10 million in grants to vulnerable non-public schools and cultural centers, including religious-based institutions; New Jersey released $11.3 million in funds; Maryland released $5 million; and recently the Governor of California announced $15 million in grants.  Massachusetts, however only has a pilot program of $150,000, with no funds yet allocated for the next year. We need to do better.

We respectfully ask our leadership in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to step-up and fulfill its basic obligation by fully funding the non-profit security grant program to provide these critical resources to ensure that our communities and our congregations are safe and secure. As faith communities meet our responsibility to welcome and embrace all who enter our doors, we need our government to realize its responsibility to offer the protection to make “freedom of religion” a reality in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts basks in its well-deserved reputation as a shining beacon, a model across the nation of freedom, equality and justice.  In this moment of crisis for our community, we are called once again to lead and not follow.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Burton, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council, Boston

Rabbi Marc Baker, President & CEO, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston

Dara Kaufman, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, Pittsfield

Judy Usow, President & Board Chair, Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, Pittsfield

Steven Schimmel, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Central MA, Worcester

Amir Cohen, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford, New Bedford

Laurie Tishler Mindlin, Executive Director, Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation, Andover

Stewart Bromberg, CEO, Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Springfield

Joshua Vogel, Communications Director, Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Springfield

Mark Sokoll, President & CEO, Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston, Newton

Kait Rogers, Chief Finance and Admin. Officer, Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston, Newton

Marty Schneer, Executive Director, Jewish Community Center of the North Shore, Marblehead

Michael Paysnick, Executive Director, Springfield Jewish Community Center, Springfield

Rabbi Alison Adler, Temple B’nai Abraham, Beverly

Rabbi Allison Berry, Temple Shalom, Newton

Rabbi Laura Abrasley, Temple Shalom, Newton

Rabbi Eric Gurvis, Temple Shalom, Newton

Rabbi Shoshana Friedman, Temple Sinai, Brookline

Rabbi Andrew Vogel, Temple Sinai, Brookline

Nora Abrahamer, President, Temple Sinai,

Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman, Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline

Shari Churwin, Education Director, Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline

Rabbi Barbara Penzner, Temple Hillel B’nai Torah, West Roxbury

Rabbi Benjamin Samuels, Congregation Shaarei Tefillah, Newton

Rabbi Ronne Friedman, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Elaine Zecher, Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman, Senior Scholar, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Matthew Soffer, Senior Associate Rabbi, Temple Israel Boston

Rabbi Jenn Gubitz, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Suzie Jacobson, Temple Israel, Boston

Cantor Roy Einhorn, Temple Israel, Boston

Dan Deutsch, Executive Director, Temple Israel, Boston

Gary Pforzheimer, President, Temple Israel, Boston

Marc Maxwell, Vice President, Temple Israel, Boston

Alane Shanks, Treasurer, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Cari Bricklin- Small, Temple Shir Tikvah, Winchester

Rabbi Danny Burkeman, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Rabbi Jordana Schuster Battis, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Scott A. Cohen, President, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Susan Altman, Executive Director, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Rabbi Daniel Liben, Temple Israel of Natick, Natick

Rabbi Darby J. Leigh, Kerem Shalom, Concord

Rabbi David J. Meyer, Temple Emanu-El, Marblehead

Rabbi David Lerner, Temple Emunah, Lexington

Shelley Rossman, Director, Pre-School of Temple Emunah, Lexington

Rabbi David Weiner, Knesset Israel, Pittsfield

Rabbi Eliana Jacobowitz, Temple B’nai Brith, Somerville

Rabbi Emily Mathis, Director of Community Development, Tremont Street Shul, Cambridge

Brian Eisenstein, President, Tremont Street Shul, Cambridge

Rabbi Howard A. Cohen, Congregation Shiray Hayam, Swampscott

Rabbi Howard Jaffe, Senior Rabbi, Temple Isaiah of Lexington, Lexington

Barry Tuber, President, Temple Isaiah of Lexington, Lexington

Steven Jaworski, Facilities Manager, Temple Isaiah of Lexington, Lexington

Rabbi Jay Pearlman, Temple Beth Shalom, Needham

Rabbi Todd A. Markley, Temple Beth Shalom, Needham

Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler, Temple Sinai, Sharon

Rabbi Joshua Breindel, Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley, Sudbury

Rabbi Keith Stern, Temple Beth Avodah, Newton

Elyse Hyman, Executive Director, Temple Beth Avodah, Newton

Rabbi Kenneth Carr, Temple Chayai Shalom, Easton

Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch, Temple Anshe Amunim, Pittsfield

Rabbi Louis Polisson, Congregation Or Atid, Wayland

Laura Blumberg, President, Congregation Or Atid, Wayland

Rabbi Mayshe Schwartz, Director, The Chai Center and YJP, Brookline

Rabbi Mendy Kivman, Chabad of Greater Milford, Milford

Rabbi Micah Citrin, Temple Beth David, Westwood

Rabbi Ron Fish, Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel, Sharon

Rabbi Rachel Silverman, Temple Israel, Sharon

Joshua Blumenthal, Executive Director, Temple Israel, Sharon

Marion Gribetz, President, Temple Israel, Sharon

Rabbi Mordechai Rackover, Principal, Temple Israel of Sharon Religious School, Sharon

Rabbi Moshe Bleich, Director, Wellesley-Weston Chabad, Wellesley

Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman, Chabad of Peabody, Peabody

Rabbi Raphael Kanter, Tifereth Israel Congregation, New Bedford

Rabbi Richard E. Perlman, Senior Rabbi, Temple Ner Tamid, Peabody

Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel Temple Beth Am, Framingham

Rabbi Susan Abramson, Temple Shalom Emeth, Burlington

Rabbi Thomas M. Alpert, Temple Etz Chaim, Franklin

Richard Shulman, President, Temple Etz Chaim, Franklin

Rabbi Toba Spitzer, Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, West Newton, President of the MA Board of Rabbis

Rabbi Victor Reinstein, Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue, Jamaica Plain

Rabbi William Hamilton, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

David E. Williams, President, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

Jonathan E. Slutzman, Vice President, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

Paula Silver, Director of Administration, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

Rabbi Yehoshua Zehavi, Congregation Agudat Achim, Leominster

Scott Zibel, President, Congregation Agudat Achim, Leominster

David Susman, Security Committee Chair, Congregation Agudat Achim, Leominster

Rabbi Yisroel Freeman, Chabad Center of Sudbury, Sudbury

Randy O’Brien, President Temple Kol Tikvah, Sharon

Randy Kafka, Temple Kol Tikvah Sharon

Sanford Keliher, Vice President, Temple B’nai Abraham, Beverly

Bernard Der, Security Committee Chair, Temple B’nai Abraham, Beverly

Sara Smolover, President Temple Beth Zion

Sarah Baron-Kelly, Administrator, Temple Beth Emunah, Easton

Cantor Vera Broekhuysen, Spiritual Leader, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

David Belsky, Safety & Security Chair, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

Scott Hannula, Assistant Secretary, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

Stephen Ashkinos, Executive Director, Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley

Bob Schecter, President of the Board of Trustees, Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley

Stephen Winer, Executive Director, Congregation B’nai Shalom, Westborough

Zach Dunn, Executive Director, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Lynda Gordon, Tri President, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Caryl Goodman, Tri-President, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Steven Kaitz, Tri-President, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Susan Schreiner Weingarten, Chairperson, The Boston Synagogue, Boston

Cynthia Levitt, Executive Director, Temple Emeth, Chestnut Hill

Michael Clayton, President, Temple Emeth, Chestnut Hill

David Jacobson, President, Adams Street Synagogue, Newton

David Leers, President, Temple Beth Elohim, Acton

Ellen Rappaport Tanowitz, President, Temple Reyim, Newton

Jeff Lurie, Executive Director, Temple Emanuel, Newton

Liz Goldstein, Executive Vice President, Temple Emanuel, Newton

Joanna Myers, President, Congregation Shalom, North Chelmsford

Kenneth Lifton, Security Chair, Temple Shalom Emeth, Burlington

Kenneth Milgran, Director of Security, Young Israel Congregation, Sharon

Marilyn Okonow, President, The Vilna Shul, Boston

Mark Fydenberg, President, Temple Beth Israel, Waltham

Marilyn Racette, Security Committee Chair, Temple Beth Israel, Waltham

Maureen Chapman, Executive Director, Temple Emanuel of Andover, Andover

Nancy J. LaFleur, Executive Director, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

Paul Cooperstein, President, Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills, Milton

Rabbi Binyomin Mermelstein, Executive Director, Torah Academy, Brookline

Rabbi Uri Feldman, Dean, Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael Highschool for Boys, Chestnut Hill

Julie Galler, Executive Director, Striar Hebrew Academy, Sharon

Susan Tanchel, Head of School, JCDS Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, Watertown

Elizabeth Waksman, Board President, JCDS Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, Watertown

Amy Gold, Head of School, Epstein Hillel School, Marblehead

Lisa Scott, Assistant Director, Gan Elohim Preschool, Wellesley

Dr. Jerrold I. Katz, Interim Head of School, Gann Academy, Waltham

Gail Schulman, COO, Gann Academy, Waltham

Ellen Chajes, Executive Director, Bais Yaakov School, Boston

Rabbi Neal Gold, Jewish Chaplain, Babson College, Boston

Ethan Sobel, Assistant Director, Boston University Hillel, Boston

Jonah Steinberg, Executive Director, Harvard Hillel, Cambridge

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, President, Hebrew College, Newton

Amy Schechtman, President & CEO, 2Life Communities, Brighton

Ed Pletman, Director of Finance, Camp Ramah New England, Norwood

Jonathan Cohen, President, Eli and Bessie Cohen Camps, Wellesley

Arlene Remz, Executive Director, Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, Newton

Louis J. Woolf, President & CEO, Hebrew SeniorLife, Boston

Samuel I. Mendales, Executive Director, Hillel Council of New England, Newton Centre

Lital Carmel, Regional Director, Israeli-American Council, Newton

Kimberlee Schumacher, President & CEO, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston, Newton

Carl Zack, Interim CEO, Jewish Family & Children Services, Waltham

Jamie Grossman, Board President, Jewish Family & Children Services, Waltham

Dale Okonow, Board Member, Jewish Family & Children Services, Waltham

Jerry Rubin, President & CEO, Jewish Vocational Services, Boston

Marc Jacobs, CEO, Jewish Family Services Metrowest, Framingham

Lino Covarrubias, COO, Jewish Family Services Metrowest, Framingham

Idit Klein, President & CEO, Keshet, Boston

Carrie Bornstein, Executive Director, Mayyim Hayyim Mikvah, Auburndale

Dan Trajman, President & CEO, New England Israel Business Council Inc., Newton

Rabbi David Jaffe, The Kirva Institute, Sharon

cc:

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito
Senate President Karen Spilka
Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo
Secretary Michael J. Heffernan, Executive Office of Administration & Finance
Secretary Daniel Bennett, Executive Office of Public Safety & Security
Senator Michael Rodrigues, Chair, Senate Committee on Ways and Means
Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means

CJP and JCRC Express Concern over Incidents at Local Chabads

CJP and JCRC are deeply troubled by three incidents of attempted arson at two Chabad houses this week – one in Arlington and another in Needham. The suspects in both cases remain at large, and police are seeking assistance from the public in identifying one man seen on the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Arlington/Belmont property – also the residence of the rabbi and his family – just after the first fire was set on Saturday night.

We have been in close contact with the rabbis at both the Arlington Chabad house and the Chabad Jewish Center in Needham, as well as local law enforcement, who have been extremely responsive and supportive. Additional patrols have been provided for the safety of the residents and congregants and state and federal officials are leading the investigation into the suspicious fires at both facilities.

CJP and JCRC appreciate the response from neighbors and local officials, who have stood with and rallied behind the Jewish communities in both towns as soon as they learned of the incidents.

Along with our partners at the ADL, we have been reaching out to Chabad houses across Greater Boston in recent days to discuss the incidents and to work together to boost security at facilities while ensuring a welcoming space to gather and worship.

Through the JEMS (Jewish Emergency Management System) program, supported by CJP, JCRC, the ADL, and the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, Jewish institutions can learn about security best practices, attend in-person security trainings, and stay informed of incidents. To learn more about the program and future training sessions, visit the page.

JCRC, in particular, continues to work with partners across faith communities and across the government to combat the rise in violence and threats against the Jewish community. JCRC and its allies call upon the state government to fully fund the nonprofit security grant program and to partner with at-risk communal institutions so that they have the resources to undertake necessary security enhancements.

Arlington’s Human Rights Commission will host a solidarity gathering supporting the Chabad house on Monday night at 6 p.m. at Arlington Town Hall. More information can be found here.

As antisemitism continues to plague our region – and our world – we remain committed to raising awareness, educating people about the dangers of antisemitism, hatred, and bigotry, and proactively working with partners to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our Jewish community.

CJP, JCRC Statement on Synagogue Shooting in Poway

CJP and JCRC were shocked and heartbroken at the news of another synagogue shooting at a Chabad center near San Diego yesterday.

The shooting, which happened during services marking the end of Passover, occurred six months to the day of the Tree of Life attack in Pittsburgh. It was also the first opportunity for a yizkor (memorial) service for the 11 Tree of Life victims.

Today, we mourn the life of Lori Kaye (z”l), a loving wife and mother, killed while she worshipped. Lori is described by friends as a “jewel of the community,” and an Eshet Chayil, a woman of valor. According to eyewitnesses, her last act demonstrated her courage – shielding the rabbi from the shooter as she was fatally wounded. Three other victims, including an 8-year-old girl, are recovering from gunshots.

This was yet another crime fueled by hatred. The suspected shooter had posted anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim messages on social media, and reportedly had a manifesto citing the attacks in both Pittsburgh and Christchurch as inspirations last month.  He also said he tried to burn down a mosque in March and self-identified as a white supremacist.

During these anxious times, we are grateful for our close partnership with local law enforcement to ensure that all houses of worship have the support they need to make the appropriate and necessary choices balancing safety and security while continuing to be a welcoming community.

We have been in contact with our partners in San Diego, including Chabad and the Jewish Federation of San Diego County to help meet the needs of those impacted by this devastating act. More information about how you can help with recovery efforts will be available in the coming days.

We join with people around the world in praying for the recovery of the victims and mourn with the friends and family of Lori Kaye. May her memory be a blessing.

CJP and JCRC Stand with Muslim Community in Christchurch after Horrific Terror Attack

CJP and JCRC are saddened, shocked, and outraged by the terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand today in which at least 49 people were murdered and 20 more were injured while attending Friday prayers in two different mosques.

We strongly condemn this attack, which is a barbaric assault on every person who believes in the dignity of human life.

As the head of New Zealand’s Jewish community stated earlier today, there are "no adequate words to describe how sickened and devastated we are by the coordinated attacks on Christchurch mosques today. We offer our full assistance and support to the Muslim community and stand united with it against the scourge of terrorism and racism…we must do all we can to banish from New Zealand."

Our community stands with our Muslim brothers and sisters – in New Zealand, in Greater Boston, and around the world – in the face of extremist hatred and violence. We have reached out to our partners in the local community here in Boston to express our support in this time of grief. CJP and JCRC pray for the souls of the victims and for the recovery of those injured. We express our deepest condolences to the bereaved family members and send our love and compassion to the resilient people of Christchurch.

CJP and JCRC Condemn Attack on Argentina’s Chief Rabbi

We were horrified and saddened to learn of the attack on Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich and his wife in their Buenos Aires home early Tuesday morning. Rabbi Davidovich, who suffered injuries after being beaten by intruders, remains hospitalized in serious condition. His wife was not injured. The attack is being investigated as an act of anti-Semitism.

We pray for his speedy recovery and for Argentinian officials to bring the perpetrators of this hideous crime to justice. And we pray for a time when Jews around the world will no longer experience the scourge of blind hatred.

JCRC dismayed by decision to empower Otzma Yehudit

February 23, 2019 - The JCRC of Greater Boston is dismayed by reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu personally played a role in the electoral arrangement by which the Otzma Yehudit “Jewish Power” party is running on a joint list in the April Knesset elections. Otzma Yehudit was founded by close disciples of Meir Kahane and is the descendent of his Kach party, a designated terrorist organization under Israeli, American, and European law that was barred from running for the Knesset for inciting racism. Otzma Yehudit shares many of these reprehensible racist and violent views. They are anathema to the values expressed in Israel’s declaration of statehood and we abhor any effort to normalize these views and bring these actors into any governing coalition. We have communicated our concerns to the representatives of the government of Israel.

On January 17, 2019, at a meeting of the Council of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, the following resolution was adopted by a vote of 62-13 with 8 abstentions:

Whereas, in 1944 the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) was formed as a coalition of organizations to act as an organized Jewish community of Boston, the express purpose of this coalition being to confront, in a unified manner, threats to the Jewish community including and specifically anti-Semitism; And,

Whereas, JCRC’s mission includes being a “representative voice of the organized Jewish community.  Rooted in Jewish values and informed by Jewish history… Comprised of constituent organizations” ; And,

Whereas, as a coalition of organizations JCRC advocates for a “safe, secure, Jewish, democratic state of Israel” ; And,

Whereas, JCRC’s bylaws articulate that with regard to an organization’s eligibility to be a member of the JCRC, “the programs, activities, and practices of such organization and, if applicable, its parent organization, are compatible and do not conflict with the mission” of JCRC; And

Whereas, JCRC has, for many years, understood support for the global BDS movement to be an indicator of an organization’s denial of the legitimate national aspirations of the Jewish people to a state of our own in our homeland, and; has understood such denial to be incompatible with support for a safe, secure, Jewish and democratic State of Israel, and thus, to be antithetical to our mission; And

Whereas, the JCRC believes that when an organization that claims for itself an identity as a Jewish voice, while explicitly and unequivocally placing itself in opposition to Zionism, including: Fully rejecting the national aspirational movement of the Jewish people; making false and tendentious claims about Jewish history and the experience of Jews both in Europe and in Arab countries, and; defining Zionism as false and failed; That such an organization is speaking and acting from an ahistorical ideology that places itself outside the boundaries of the organized Jewish community that JCRC has been formed to represent. Additionally, such an organization is lending credence and validity to similarly noxious and anti-Semitic views outside the Jewish community; And,

Whereas, the JCRC believes that when an organization rejects the very legitimacy of Jewish national aspirations and, in the same breath, legitimizes and aligns itself with the national aspirations of other peoples, that such a position is, itself, holding the Jewish state to an unjust double standard; And,

Whereas, the JCRC understands such a self-identified Jewish organization to be, through its own words and actions, advancing an ideology that is expressly in opposition to a safe, secure, Jewish and democratic state of Israel; and, further, that such an ideology is riven with frameworks and analysis that place it in opposition to the mission of JCRC.

Now therefore be it,

Resolved, that no member organization of JCRC, through its programs, activities and practices, shall partner with – in particular by co-sponsoring events primarily led or co-led by or by signing on to statements primarily organized or co-organized by - a self-identified Jewish organization that declares itself to be anti-Zionist;

such action is not compatible with, and is in conflict with, JCRC’s mission, and could be grounds for removal from the JCRC upon the determination of and through the procedures of this Council and its bylaws.

 

 

CJP, JCRC Joint Statement on Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting

Community Vigil Scheduled Tomorrow (Sunday, Oct. 28th) on the Boston Common at 2:00pm.

Today, during a Shabbat service of reflection, prayer, and celebration, 11 people were murdered and another six injured by a suspected anti-Semitic, xenophobic extremist at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history.

We are as devastated as we are horrified. We have reached out to the Pittsburgh Jewish community to express our support. We pray that the families of the victims find comfort during this unimaginably painful time and for the full recovery of the wounded. And we offer our gratitude to the brave first responders in Pittsburgh who risked their lives to prevent further bloodshed.

In our close-knit Jewish communal world, many of us have friends and family in Pittsburgh, and know congregants at the Tree of Life Synagogue. These are our brothers and sisters, our friends, our family, and our children.

During this time of great despair and anxiety, CJP and JCRC have been in close contact with local law enforcement, who have been extremely proactive and supportive in their response. We also appreciate the outreach from Governor Baker and the interfaith community, who stand with our Jewish local community and those around the country. There is no indication of any increased threat locally.

Anti-semitism and hatred in its many forms are antithetical to our faith and an affront to humanity. For the victims, we will mourn. For the living, we will continue to fight for a better, more just world.

May the memories of those we lost today be a blessing.

We invite you to join us for a CJP/JCRC/ADL vigil for the victims at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Please join us as we gather on Boston Common at the Parkman Bandstand at 2:00pm

JCRC Dismayed by Elimination of Funds for Israeli-Palestinian Co-existence

JCRC is strongly opposed to the recent Trump Administration decision to eliminate USAID funding for projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We are particularly disturbed by the Administration’s decision to cut off funding for co-existence programs for Israelis and Palestinians. The suspension of all USAID support will harm the chances for peaceful reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, and will only serve to punish the Palestinian people for the failures of their leadership and create an opportunity for extremist groups to gain strength in the Palestinian Territories.

Israeli-Palestinian co-existence programs are the best long-term strategy for achieving peace and the two-state solution. The support of co-existence programs allows the United States to exert its global influence to create change that speaks to our deepest values of justice, dignity, and peace. JCRC calls on the Trump Administration to reverse this decision, and to rethink how United States aid can be used to encourage rather than discourage peace for Israelis and Palestinians.