National Rabbinic Organizations Condemn Charleston Shooting
Following the horrific attack in Charleston, South Carolina which took place the other night, numerous organizations across the country issued statements condemning the attack. Amongst these organizations were many Jewish organizations. There were also four national rabbinic organizations that offered condemnatory statements concerning Dylann Roof’s using a .45 caliber handgun to shoot people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. According to CNN, there were nine people who died:
County Coroner Rae Wooten identified the nine victims as follows: Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59.
National [denominational] rabbinic organizations, Agudath Israel of America (AIA), Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), Rabbinical Assembly (RA), and Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), all issued condemnatory statements regarding the shooting.*
Two of the organizations, the RCA and the RA, both used Biblical quotes in their statements, which was quite appropriate, considering that those who had gathered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that evening had done so in order to study Bible. Two of them, RCA and AIA, both connected this recent attack with another attack on a prayer service that had been committed with hate, the Arabs who had murdered people praying in a synagogue in Har Nof.
Here are highlights from each of the statements (with links to the respective statements):
Ours is a community that has a long history of having suffered violence against worshippers, most recently in the case of the murderous terrorist attack on the Har Nof, Israel synagogue last November. That makes us all the more sensitive to the pain that was caused in Charleston today.
As clergy whose job it is to gather people in the study of sacred scripture, we are appalled that the desecration of nine human lives could occur in such a holy setting. Our sympathies extend to all the victims, and especially to our partner in clergy, Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney.
Hateful, violent acts such as this have no place in our society, in a country known for its diversity and blending of various cultures. No individual should be made to feel unsafe because of his religion, race or ethnicity.
As fellow human beings created in the image of God, as fellow Americans, and as members of a people that shares the experiences of discrimination and murder based on faith and ethnicity, we, the largest collection of Orthodox Jewish rabbis in the nation, express to you our outrage at the murders of nine of your brothers and sisters, including your pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
* If there are any other national rabbinic organizations that I have omitted, please let me know so I can update this post.