Statement on the Shooting at Tree Of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh

posted by on Oct 29, 2018

The entire Young Judaea community grieves for those who were killed in Saturday’s horrific shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and we stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh in the face of this tragedy. 

Words cannot express the shock, sadness, and deep loss that we all feel. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to those who survived this heinous attack, and to all those who have tragically lost loved ones.  

Yesterday, children from Young Judaea Pittsburgh had planned to gather at one of our families’ homes to celebrate their community at Camp Young Judaea Midwest. How can it be that on a day when they were supposed to be having fun, playing games and talking about camp with their friends, these children are instead struggling to understand the unimaginable? How can it be that on a day when our parents were meant to be sharing their wonderful camp experiences with new families, they instead need to have conversations with their children about anti-Semitism, hatred and death? In the face of these unanswerable questions, the families decided to gather together as planned at this home, now to support and comfort one another. 

We mourn the loss of these eleven souls. May their memories be for a blessing. Many of us now worry about our and others’ safety. We struggle with how we should discuss with our teens and children this killing of innocent people and the hate and anti-Semitism that motivated the shooter. There will be time to learn and to teach. Young Judaea has always been, and will always be, a place for Jewish young people to come together to confront, reflect and learn from difficult and challenging ideas and, sometimes, tragedies. For now, we must simply mourn this loss and stand with our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh.

So, in addition to sharing our love and support, offering our solidarity and comfort to the Pittsburgh community, we will continue to dedicate ourselves to empowering our children to change the world – in spite of the hatred that inspired this tragedy. 


Simon Klarfeld
Executive Director, Young Judaea Global