We Stand with the Pittsburgh Jewish Community

Our Shabbat day of calm and peace was shattered earlier this morning by the horrific news of an attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh. While the details are still emerging, it is clear that a Jewish community at prayer was intentionally targeted. This deadly combination of gun violence and anti-Semitism, focused at a house of worship, affects us all. Our sages teach, “Kol Yisrael aravim zeh bazeh,” meaning that the entire Jewish community is connected one to another. We hold the Tree of Life congregation, its leaders and families, and the greater Pittsburgh Jewish community in our hearts today, offering solace and comfort at this time of pain and loss.

Our Temple Beth El community takes matters of security very seriously, working diligently to ensure the safety of our students, our worshippers, and our clergy and staff. In close partnership with Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey and the Closter Police Department, we regularly review our security procedures and implement improvements based upon their recommendations. They have been impressed with our level of preparedness. Among our security protocols:

• As has been the case for the past year and a half, we have a security guard stationed at the Nursery School entrance during Nursery School hours. Additionally, the entire Nursery School area is fully secured—all internal and external doors that provide access to the school are locked and only accessible by key.
• We have been working closely with the Closter police department, who has been a tremendous partner with our congregation for many years. The police will step up their patrols around the temple building for the coming weeks.
• You may see a police officer at the temple during Nursery School and Religious School drop off for the near future. This increased police presence is not a result of any specific threat to us, but rather as a cautionary action to ensure the safety of all.
• We will be working with Han Moory Church to reaffirm our security plans and protocols to ensure that the building is secure that our communities are safe.

We stand with the Pittsburgh Jewish community in their tragic loss, sending prayers for healing and strength for the days to come. We stand determined not to be fearful in our expression of Judaism, in prayer or learning or community activities.
With the prophet Isaiah, we are committed to bringing about a time when “Violence shall no longer be heard in our land.”

May we find a way to return our world to a Shabbat of peace. May the Pittsburgh Jewish community find healing in the coming weeks. May God watch over us all.


Angela Schuster & Joel Rubin, Co-Presidents
and Rabbi David S. Widzer