In the late afternoon of April 27, one person was killed and at least three others wounded when a gunman opened fire at worshipers in a Chabad synagogue in Poway, CA, near San Diego. According to the mayor of Poway, Steve Vaus, the act was an antisemitic hate crime, evidenced by the assailant’s use of anti-Jewish language during his assault.

The attack comes with symbolic and sobering timing. First, it took place on the last day of Passover, when Jews celebrate the Israelites’ ancient journey from slavery to freedom. However, the shooting reminds us that there is nothing “ancient” about our ongoing captivity to the ills of society. Second, the attack also comes one day before our community’s annual Yom Hashoah Remembrance program. This, too, is a reminder—that even in 2019, Antisemitism has yet to be consigned to the annals of history.

Tomorrow at Beth Abraham Synagogue, from 3-6PM, our community will assemble to remember the martyrs of our people, past and present. As we honor the memories of those who perished decades ago in the Holocaust, we will also commemorate the lives lost in recent hours. Please join us as we process this trying experience. Now, as always, there will be security in place to help keep our gathering safe.

We pray for the speedy recovery of those injured and the consolation of  all left bereaved by this shocking incident. In the traditional words of our people, hamakom yenachem etchem: May God comfort them all among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Rabbi Ari Ballaban
JCRC Director
Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton

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