They Cannot Break Us

The Jewish Community Project Downtown mourns the senseless loss of life and violence inflicted upon the Chabad Jewish community of Poway, California this Shabbat afternoon. As reports have indicated, more than one hundred Jews were observing Shabbat, celebrating Passover, and offering memorial prayers for Yizkor on the last day of the festival when a hateful young man killed one person and wounded others with an assault weapon.

Six months to the day since the attack at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; one week after the Easter Day massacre in Sri Lanka; and another attack in a dark and evil series of assaults on innocent Jews, Christians and Muslim across the nation and the world, we must stand together in communities of love and tolerance even when there are those determined to shatter our resolve. In this season of Redemption — Passover, Easter and Ramadan — people of faith and hope must continue to be united in our shared resolve to “love our neighbor as thyself.”

Within moments of the news breaking, we received messages from clergy colleagues across our city — from pastors and imams from Brooklyn to Harlem. Together we can defeat this inexcusable scourge of hatred and violence and together we can build a world of justice and peace.

For families who entrust to us their children for learning and education, please know that our building remains secure at the highest level and our vigilance for the safety of your loved ones is of paramount importance.

In times like this we are reminded again of the wisdom that there is more that unites us than divides us; that the eternal language of hope will sustain us; and our unity in love and friendship with all our neighbors will remove evil from our midst.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with our brothers and sisters in Poway. As stated by one member of the synagogue: “They cannot break us.” Amen.