vigil held in Pittsburgh Sat. evening, Oct. 27
Posted Sunday afternoon Oct. 28

The Jewish Federation has released the following statement today in response to the deadly shootings in Pittsburgh yesterday, Oct. 27:



Dear Community Members,

Yesterday, the Jewish community suffered an unimaginable tragedy in Pittsburgh. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, the Tree of Life Congregation, as well as the law enforcement and community of Pittsburgh.

We invite everyone to stand together on Tuesday, October 30 at 7:00pm at Congregation Shaarey Zedek for a vigil to remember the victims of this horrific event.

Here in Winnipeg, we have been in constant contact with the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) and our partners at the National Community Security Program as well as the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. We are grateful that Canadian law enforcement has responded by being extra vigilant in Jewish communities across Canada.

We want to assure you that there is no information whatsoever to suggest an elevated threat to Jewish communities in Canada. The WPS has confirmed that they have bolstered their presence and increased patrolling near the Asper Jewish Community Campus (AJCC) and the other Jewish institutions in the city.

Safety and security remains a top priority. We constantly review and renew our safety procedures and are confident in the protocols we have set in place.

Our community is resilient. In response to hate, we will continue to live our lives as Canadian Jews who proudly contribute to our shared society. We will continue to congregate and engage in communal activities with pride and resolve.

Following is a compilation of various news stories filed by the JTA on Saturday, Oct. 27 and Sunday, Oct. 28:
The shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue that has left 11 people dead has been described as “horrific,” “heinous” and “devastating” by Jewish leaders, politicians and Israeli leaders.
“Our hearts are broken,” the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh  on Facebook, saying it was making an exception and using social media on Shabbat.
The victims include two brothers, as well as a husband and wife. The youngest victim was 59 and the oldest was 97.
The Jewish refugee aid agency HIAS, which was named by the suspected shooter in a series of posts on social media, said in a statement: “There are no words to express how devastated we are by the events in Pittsburgh this morning. This loss is our loss, and our thoughts are with Tree of Life Congregation, our local partner Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) of Pittsburgh, the city of Pittsburgh and all those affected by this senseless act of violence. As we try to process this horrifying tragedy, we pray that the American Jewish community and the country can find healing.”
Before he slaughtered 11 people in a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, Robert Bowers blamed one Jewish organization: HIAS, an immigrant aid group that has been helping refugees since the 1880s.
“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people,” he . “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
In vilifying HIAS, Bowers targeted an organization that helped get the American Jewish community on its feet as it burgeoned more than a century ago. Its mission has shifted as the number of Jewish migrants has fell to a trickle, from helping its own to advocating for others. It’s also an organization that, even  to refugee admissions from the White House, has maintained broad support from a Jewish community that is otherwise increasingly fragmented.
“It’s not going to affect our mission one iota,” HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield told JTA Saturday night, regarding the shooting. “If anything, it’s reinforced the need for the Jewish community to be a welcoming community.”
Once, HIAS’ goal was to welcome Jews to the United States. Founded in 1881 as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, it provided resources and education to Jews moving to the U.S. It later took an active role in the movement to free Soviet Jewry.
Then, as Jewish immigration evaporated in the 1990s, HIAS shifted to becoming a refugee resettlement agency for non-Jews. It is now one of nine agencies tasked with resettling refugees in the United States.
Until 2015, the group stayed mostly apolitical and focused on navigating the bureaucracy involved in bringing refugees to the country and finding them homes. But that year, the refugee crisis rose to the top of global consciousness, and Donald Trump launched a presidential campaign centered on reducing the flow of undocumented — and even legal — immigrants to the United States.

In Israel, emergency and resilience teams left for Pittsburgh to provide psychological assistance and community rehabilitation, according to the statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a  that he was “heartbroken and appalled by the murderous attack” on the Tree of Life synagogue.
“The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead. We stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh,” he said. “We stand together with the American people in the face of this horrendous anti-Semitic brutality.  And we all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded.