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June 18, 2015 1:02 pm

Major Jewish Groups ‘Horrified’ by Charleston Church Shooting, Call for Solidarity

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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Victims of the deadly attack at a Charleston church embrace following the violence. Photo: Courtesy Jewish Federation of Charleston, SC.

Victims of the deadly attack at a Charleston church embrace following the violence. Photo: Courtesy Jewish Federation of Charleston, SC.

Jewish groups condemned on Thursday the apparent hate crime at a historic black church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday night, in which nine people were shot dead by a lone gunman, and called for solidarity.

“The entire Charleston Jewish community is grieving for the victims and their families of the Emanuel AME Church tragedy last night,” said the Jewish Federation of Charleston in a statement, calling on locals to join for a vigil for the victims on Thursday.

“Even when we don’t have the answers most of us are helped by drawing together with community members to affirm the Jewish values of heart, restraint, compassion and justice. There is no way sense can be made of such a tragedy so it is important for us to show our support, offer comfort and pray for peace,” the statement read.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, meanwhile, said it was “horrified by the apparent hate crime at a historic Black Church where nine people attending a Bible class at the Emanuel AME Church  were gunned down, reportedly by a young white gunman.”

Rabbis Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, the center’s Associate Dean and Director of Interfaith Affairs respectively, expressed their condolences and called for “solidarity” with the families of those victims who were killed on Tuesday night.

“We wish to express our solidarity with and deep sorrow for  the families who lost loved ones, the members of the historic Black Church and the people of Charlestown. We trust that law enforcement will do everything in its power to apprehend the murderer. All Americans are again confronted with the specter of a House of Worship violated and  our religious freedoms violently debased,” they said.

The Anti-Defamation League expressed “horror and profound sorrow” over the murder of nine parishioners, including the reverend Clementa C. Pinckney, who was also a state senator.

“Even though this suspect has not yet been apprehended, from what we know about this unspeakable crime it is hard to imagine that there could have been any motive other than hate.  We should all be looking in the mirror this morning and asking ourselves how such a tragedy could happen in America in 2015, and what we can do to ensure that it doesn’t happen again,” said ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman and ADL Southeast Regional Director Mark Moskowitz, in a joint statement.

“Our prayers go out to the victims, their families, and the members of their congregation and community.  We hope they can find some measure of strength and comfort in the support of the countless people around the U.S. and the world whose thoughts are with them today,” they said.

As police continued the manhunt for primary suspect Dylann Storm Roof, 21, of the Columbia area on Wednesday, B’nai B’rith International also condemned Wednesday’s hateful attack.

“Attacking people as they pray is the height of depravity,” said the Jewish service organization. “Our thoughts and prayers go to the victims’ families and those injured in the attack.”


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  • Patricia McGehee

    Christians have become a target for all the hateful, divisive rhetoric this traitorous President has spewed since his first day in the WH.

  • Michael Mayben

    My condolences to the family members of the victims of this nonsensical act of violence. Hopefully the perpetrator of these heinous murders will be captured and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

  • Margaret Corry

    I was very moved to read about the wonderful compassionate response from the Jewish community in Charleston. Their loving kindness will never be forgotten in Charleston.

  • wm. j. levy

    If this killer attacked a synagogue and killed Jews how would the black community react>

    Not the same way and the same emotion that the Jews are reacting to this murder.

    Blacks for all that the Jews have sacrificed for them, including the lives of young Jewish men, hate Jews as does their leaders such as Jesse jackson, Al Sharpton, Farrakan and others.

    Jews better learn to defend themselves because they really are alone and its easier to kill Jews than kill blacks.

    • Baht Harim

      Oh stop. You are a hateful putz and it’s a shandeh that you don’t feel compassion for the families that lost loved ones in this killing. Don’t forget that this shooter is a white supremacist and hates us as much as he hates blacks. Your rabbi should pronounce cherem on you; you don’t deserve the privilege of being a Jew. Shame on you!

  • This kind of thing happened recently in Jerusalem as people were at services praying. The horror was not as promoted by the media as this tragedy. I sincerely hope that the relatives of those slain for no reason other than their skin color are comforted. G-d be with you.

    • Neyoooo

      thank u