In the wake of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh Synagogue, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit sent out a community-wide email stating that its security team and their counterparts in law enforcement remain on high alert.
“Jewish Detroit is extremely fortunate to have a robust Federation community-wide security team dedicated to providing for the safety of our schools, congregations, agency buildings and Jewish campuses,” the statement said. “This team works in close collaboration with their peers in local and national law enforcement to help keep our children, seniors, and families safe.”
The Isaac Agree Synagogue in Downtown Detroit reached out to Federation’s director of community wide security and requested a more frequent presence of the Detroit Police Department at the building, it said in an e-mailed statement. “The weekly rhythm of a reflective Shabbat was shaken this morning with the news of the shooting and tragic deaths at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Words cannot express the depth of our sorrow and our hearts are with the Tree of Life Synagogue community and all those affected by this affront to humanity,” the statement read. “The attack is being reported to be an anti-Semitic hate crime. In our desire to take all precautionary measures, we continue to be vigilant in maintaining our synagogue safety precautions. We are doing everything possible to ensure a safe community.”
The West Bloomfield Police Department will provide extra security for services and Torah classes at Bais Chabad tomorrow morning (8:30 am), Rabbi Shneur Silberberg said on Facebook.
With 11 fatalities, the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh is the worst attack to ever occur at a Jewish synagogue or institution in America, according to the ADL.
“We will remember this as a dark moment in the modern history of our people,” the statement from Federation read. “The full weight of this horrifying and incomprehensible act is difficult to process. Our first response must be to stand in solidarity with Jewish people everywhere, extending our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to the victims, their families, and all those affected. We grieve for the entire Pittsburgh Jewish community. As fellow Jews, we share in the sadness, pain and outrage that such an incident could occur.”
The Federation is encouraging community members to reach out with any concerns or questions by calling 248-642-4260 or sending them a message.
Federation said it anticipates sharing information about community-wide solidarity events in the near future.
Federation CEO Scott Kaufman was traveling in Los Angeles and shared this sentiment on Facebook:
“My heart breaks for the victims and their families of the horrific act of mass murder at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. That they were killed only for being Jewish, while observing Shabbat in their neighborhood synagogue, adds another painful layer to this tragedy. I know I speak for our entire community when send our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, the congregants of Tree of Life Synagogue, and the entire Jewish community and city of Pittsburgh.
“The alleged suspect is in custody, and he was heard talking about ‘killing Jews’ while he was being apprehended. It was surreal turning on the TV to see my colleague and close friend, Pittsburgh Federation CEO Jeff Finkelstein, on CNN, as we just were together Thursday for a night out in Tel Aviv.
“Beyond our thoughts and prayers, I offered the Pittsburgh Jewish community the assistance of our security team, grief counselors and any other help we can provide.
“In recent years, Jewish Detroit has increased our resources exponentially in terms of security hardware and personnel, procedures, training and access to all levels of law enforcement. All as part of building a culture of security. Unfortunately, this can still happen anywhere. And while the answer isn’t to run and hide, rather we need to be ever more vigilant. If you see something unusual please report it immediately.”