Statement from Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) Chairman Marc Zucker

The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) joins hands with Jewish communities across the Commonwealth and all people of conscience in mourning the victims of what we believe to be the first mass shooting at a synagogue in our nation’s history. This cowardly act of anti-Semitic violence, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, fueled by blind hatred of immigrants, is a horrific stain on our nation’s heritage as a beacon of hope for all people.

The slaughter of innocent congregants and police officers, disturbing the sanctity of a joyous celebration on the Jewish Sabbath, must be condemned at all levels of government and in all corners of society.

We are grateful for efforts already in place in Pennsylvania to combat hate crimes, educate our children about genocide and ethnic hatred and cultivate mutual understanding. The challenge for all of us, and for our government leaders going forward, is to denounce xenophobia and anti-Semitism, safeguard our houses of worship, silence the increasingly divisive rhetoric that inflames the basest elements of our society and corrodes our democratic institutions, and act swiftly to curb gun violence. May the families of each of the victims of this deplorable act find comfort in the solidarity and commitment of our community, as we mourn together.