COP Statement on the Tragedy in Poway

New York, NY

Arthur Stark, Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued the following statement:

We are shocked and saddened by yesterday’s shooting at the Chabad of Poway, California synagogue. That this should happen when Jews gathered to observe the final day of Passover, the holiday remembering our redemption from oppression, on a day when synagogues insert special prayers for those loved ones who have died, only deepens the sense of tragedy and outrage. The American Jewish community stands united with the community in Poway and our prayers go out to the victims, their families and friends. 

We want to express our gratitude to the San Diego Police Department, which was able to apprehend the suspected attacker. 

The murderous rampage in Pittsburgh exactly six months earlier and the attack in Poway, are not isolated incidents, but are horrible indicators of a reemergence in America of history’s oldest hatred, anti-Semitism. While we hoped, prayed, and worked to ensure that the shooting in Pittsburgh would be the last time American Jews or others  were attacked in their place of worship or gathering, we are reminded that there is far more that needs to be done in order to ensure the safety and security of synagogues and other Jewish communal spaces.

We expect that law enforcement, on the local, state, and federal levels, will investigate this incident not in isolation, but rather as yet another of the string of horrific and brutal anti-Semitic attacks which have occurred across the country. There also must be action that enhances the early warning capacity of law enforcement agencies, more effort must be made for prevention, and, where possible, funds to enable training, added security equipment and personnel should be facilitated.

We read last week at the Passover Seder that in every generation enemies arise that seek to destroy us but G-d has saved us from their evil plots. Through the centuries from ancient times until now they have failed and will again. We trust the American people and those of good will and decency everywhere will join us in declaring “Never Again.”

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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