IPMN Strongly Condemns Antisemitic Shooting Attack in Pittsburgh
October 27 — The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) strongly condemns the despicable, hate-filled shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during Shabbat services today. We stand in support of the members and leadership of that congregation and offer prayers on behalf of the victims and their loved ones who must now live in the aftermath of this senseless tragedy.
One of the most significant images shared by people of many faiths is that of the “Tree of Life”. In Genesis 2:9 the faithful are told that: “Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden…” This is an important image for all three Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—as well as other faiths throughout the world. It is simply horrifying to think that a deranged, antisemitic gunman would walk into a house of God and intentionally maim and kill the people of a congregation whose very name honors the Creator who gifted humanity with a tree symbolizing blessed life together.
IPMN is also greatly concerned about the nature of a public discourse in our society in which peoples of different faith narratives are unwittingly pitted against each other for political, ideological and self-serving reasons. We believe that people of faith, meaning all faiths dedicated to serving and glorifying the God of creation, are well-equipped to see through such designs and to stand in solidarity against ungodly and destructive human schemes and purposes. We are thankful for the swift action of law enforcement officials, and pray that our justice system will be thorough, sensitive and fair, seeing to it that the perpetrator of this heinous act is dealt with in an appropriate manner.
For this present moment, we are most concerned about standing with all our Jewish brothers and sisters as they deal with this tragedy both collectively and personally. Part of the witness of Tree of Life Synagogue has been to stand with, and bring justice for refugees and immigrants. For any who seek to do the same, today’s action is an affront to all that is aligned with the intentions of the God who created us as one humanity, and calls upon us to demonstrate this truth with everything we are.
We echo the words of our friend, Rabbi Alissa Wise, Deputy Director of Jewish Voice for Peace: “I want first to send love, strength and solidarity to our beloved Jewish communities facing fear and harm today… We must rely on each other, especially in an era when national leaders foment this type of violence. May the memories of those whose lives were lost this morning be for a blessing.”
If possible, we encourage all to join JVP on October 28 at 12 pm PST/3 pm EST, for a virtual grief ritual led by Rabbi Margaret Holub of the JVP Rabbinical Council. You may register at this link.
In Psalm 85 we are reminded: “Love and Faithfulness meet together; Righteousness and Peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and Righteousness looks down from heaven. God will indeed give what is good and our land will yield its harvest.”
May it be so.