11 Dead in Anti-Semitic Attack on Pittsburgh Synagogue

Eleven people have been killed in a murderous rampage inside the Tree Of Life – Or L’Simcha synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The gunman reportedly shouted “all Jews must die” during the 20 minute long rampage and siege.

The New York Post reported that some three-dozen worshipers had been attending services inside the conservative Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill when the shooter, identified by authorities as Robert D. Bowers, barged in just before 10 a.m.

“All Jews must die!” Bowers screamed during the 20-minute siege. At least six other people were wounded, including four police officers. Bowers, 46, exchanged gunfire with cops and was struck several times before he surrendered.

“It’s a very horrific crime scene. One of the worst that I’ve seen, and I’ve been on some plane crashes,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich told reporters, holding back tears.

The investigation will be led by the FBI in Philadelphia, and Bowers, who was in fair condition at a hospital, will likely face federal hate crime charges.

When gunfire erupted, a bris, a circumcision ceremony had been in progress. Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the shooting happened during the portion of the rite when the child is given a Hebrew name.

The “shooter claimed innocent lives — and injured first responders — at a baby-naming,” Shapiro said. There were no children among the dead or injured, officials said.

In response to the incident NYPD’s 71st precinct issued the following statement: “Our thoughts and prays go out to all the victims and their families in Pittsburgh. We will be stepping up patrols and visibility in the area. This incident looks like it isolated. [Perpetrator] is in custody. There are no known threats to our community however we will be out there to reassure the community of their safety.”

UPDATE– President Trump has ordered the flag to be half staff for the Victims of the Pittsburgh tragedy.

29 Comments

  • 1. Shmuel Fyvush Solomon wrote:

    Only when we arm ourselves, will the criminals know we will not tolerate their invasion into our places of worship and our homes. We cannot repair the world if we become forever victims. I believe Hashem wants us to stand-up and fight evil.

    I hope good Angels surround the families involved and give them comfort and may the souls so tragically released, find peace. Baruch Dayan Ha-Emes.

    Reply
    • 4. Crown Heights Resident wrote:

      The Rebbe’s response would be

      1 – To increase in acts of goodness and kindness.
      2- To remind us about what he said about Sh’Lemus Ha’Aretz

      If Israel gives away land that Hashem helped them win, in a miraculous way during the June 1967 SIX day war.
      This will put the lives of Jews all over the world in danger.

  • 6. Open Door Policy at 770 ? wrote:

    1) Annual Pass Cards with Guest privileges for 770 after verification from CHJCC or a Rabbi.
    2) Interior Cameras with security system.
    3) Armed guard inside 770 ?
    4) Building Plans given to NYPD
    5) Drone inside 770 to be used in 770 and around CH for security enforcement.
    6) Obtain increased public funds from elected officials for crime prevention, for Jewish soft targets as well as other crime prevention in CH (i.e. high homicide rate)
    7) Voter education meetings by CHJCC at different shuls throughout year for increased Jewish political power and increased public funds going to Jewish concerns

    Jay from LI

    Reply
    • 8. Milhouse wrote:

      A shul is not a private club; it must be open to all Jews, and we have no right to close it. Especially 770, which likely has a din of בית כנסת של כרכין and thus belongs to all the Jews of the world, not just the ones who happen to daven there regularly.

  • 10. T Yaffee wrote:

    Reminder that mezuzahs (checked and placed properly) protect everyone everywhere!! Those close–family, neighbors, friends and those far. I’ll check mine for you-please check yours for me.

    Reply
  • 11. Yossi wrote:

    100% so true. Safety needs to be number one priority. Everyone is looking how to protect their shuls and family. True we do need to have armed security. But what are we going to do about a threat that are in our shul every week. How are we going to protect the innocent children from child molesters??

    Reply
    • 12. Berel wrote:

      you could make sure your children understand what’s inappropriate

      you can have some general idea of what your children are doing in shul

      No, shuls aren’t dangerous places for children, sometimes it really is your imagination

  • 14. שליח wrote:

    Open Door Policy at 770 ? says:
    October 27, 2018 at 8:52 pm
    1) Annual Pass Cards with Guest privileges for 770 after verification from CHJCC or a Rabbi.
    2) Interior Cameras with security system.
    3) Armed guard inside 770 ?
    4) Building Plans given to NYPD
    5) Drone inside 770 to be used in 770 and around CH for security enforcement.
    6) Obtain increased public funds from elected officials for crime prevention, for Jewish soft targets as well as other crime prevention in CH (i.e. high homicide rate)
    7) Voter education meetings by CHJCC at different shuls throughout year for increased Jewish political power and increased public funds going to Jewish concerns

    Jay from LI

    You are 100% on target. The only thing I want to add is that it is high time that our schools have armed guards along with a emergency lockdown plan where all doors get locked with a switch of a button. For that, the schools need to add security doors to every classroom and every floor to limit movement C”V in even of emergency היה לא תהיה.

    Reply
  • 16. chaim wrote:

    Authorities should monitor haters on social media and the when hate such as the murderer spewed is seen they should immediately take away the haters guns even if they were originally obtained legally.

    Reply
    • 17. Milhouse wrote:

      They have no right to do any such thing. Don’t introduce dictatorship here. Our civil liberties are worth more than anyone’s life; people give their lives to defend those liberties.

  • 18. Rebbe's Response wrote:

    The Rebbe advised immediately after the tragedy in Maalot, Israel (1974) to check all the Mezuzas. he spoke about it at length in the weeks that followed

    Reply
  • 19. Anonymous wrote:

    Yes definitely each one of us to increase somewhat in positive actions.. from experience, I say……

    we live in crown heights, a very close knit condensed neighborhood. we go about our daily routine, davin work children family Mommies and tatties.

    However, we all have that ! neighbor either next door in the basement, in our building in the apt next to us or upstairs. no matter if their older single divorced frum or not, say hello to them, invite them to your home once in awhile, ask them once a week. how are you? how are things? Chanukah is coming would you like to join us for a Chanukah party, the doors open….. etc etc etc 100’s of examples …. yes that will make a difference that will no doubt make a roishem in heaven, as weve all read so many stories from the time of the BeSH’T and on,,,, lets do the right thing, little things make a big difference. looking forward to greeting Moshiach very soon..

    Reply
  • 20. Jay from LI wrote:

    @#15 & #16

    You are both right.
    While we of course cannot limit freedom of speech in the US, we can take action when a viable threat to lives and safety is at stake. ( In Germany, Nazi Hate Speech is banned because of German racial demographics and history.)

    In the instant case, the perp was in an online chatroom called “GAB” which was supposedly a freedom of speech chatroom, but was frequented by white supremacists. His hate comments rose to a point where it did pose a threat to safety, and if monitored, he could have been investigated.

    “He posted conspiracy theories about liberal billionaire George Soros, praised Hitler, used hate speech, and posted neo-Nazi memes. He repeatedly posted a conspiracy theory about the nonprofit Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which helps refugees, and said the organization was
    bringing in “invaders in that kill our people,” the Daily Beast reported.Right before he entered the synagogue Saturday, he wrote, “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” ” DialogueCeo.com, Emma Hinchliffe, October 28, 2018

    It is rumored that gov’t agents act as confederates in white supremacist internet chatrooms.
    The website GAB has since been taken offline by its internet hosts. Want more govt scrutiny and policing of internet, vote and tell your Federal elected officials to fund more resources to this end.

    Reply
    • 21. Milhouse wrote:

      Wrong. First of all, nobody hates Soros because he happens to have been born to a Jewish woman; people hate him because he is an enemy of America, Israel, and all decent people, and there’s nothing antisemitic about saying so. These are not “conspiracy theories”, they’re the truth.

      Second, there is no level of “hate comments” that could possibly justify the government investigating someone; “hate comments” are protected speech, and the government has no right to do anything that would have a chilling effect on them.

      Third, gab.ai is not some sort of “hate website”. It’s simply a replacement for Twitter, which does not engage in censorship. What people tweet on it is their business and nobody else’s; so long as they don’t break the law the company does not interfere, which is exactly as it should be, and exactly the promise Twitter originally made to people, before it turned into a radical left-wing tyranny. People disgusted with Twitter have been slowly migrating there. The fact that some of them are neo-nazis and other disgusting things shouldn’t be relevant.

  • 22. Jay from LI wrote:

    Society and government has an obligation to protect citizens from harm, and that obligation includes restricting one’s freedoms or rights which are not absolute.

    You can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre to cause people to get trampled, and you may have to go through airport scanners to ride a plane. You better show your license otherwise you are not going to be able to drive in NYS. This is in response to some who don’t want to restrict 770 access.

    770 –
    If 770 required pass cards and restricted access after authorization, Jews would not be excluded so long as they complied with additional restrictions. Why restrict access ? Remember the homeless guy who walked in with a knife. Remember the crazy guy on video who was taken away in the last year screaming “I want to kill the Jews.” The restrictions are necessary to protect society from future threats.

    Hate comments –
    Same analogy. The govt has a right to be proactive by investigating those individuals who are may commit crimes in future. Where there is smoke, there was probably fire. Before a hate crime, there probably were hate comments. Its a good place to start. The potential harm justifies the intrusion.
    The Southern Poverty Law Center and the FBI monitor hate groups.
    https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch
    https://vault.fbi.gov/cointel-pro/White%20Hate%20Groups

    If the government or a private entity was able to sort through hate group comments with an algorithm which accessed threat, this could have been avoided. To be specific, the shooter’s last comment was “I can’t watch my people getting slaughtered. Screw your optics, I am going in”. The words “slaughtered” and ” I am goin in” could be used in an algorithm as a red alert.

    And to digress, I pose this, wouldn’t CH be a safer place if the police brought back “stop and frisk” for individuals under 30, based upon extraordinary crime rates in certain census tract areas.

    Reply
    • 23. Milhouse wrote:

      Oh no, not the tired old “falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater” analogy. Using that is a sure sign that the speaker has no valid arguments to make. If you don’t know why, read the linked article and learn something.

      You are in fact perfectly free to shout “fire” in a theater if there is one, or if it does not result in a panic. The crime is causing the panic, not the content of your speech. You have to go through security to get on a plane, because there is no right to get on the plane in the first place. The same applies to showing a license in order to drive on public highways; there is no right to drive there, so the owner (i.e. the state) can impose conditions. But you can drive all you like on private property without any license.

      Requiring pass cards to enter a shul would exclude any Jew who did not have one. Nobody has the right to do that, especially from 770, which likely belongs to all the Jews of the world. If you have no right to do something, then security does not give you the right.

      The government absolutely does not have any right to be proactive by investigating those individuals who are may commit crimes in future. No government ever has such a right. That is a frightening recipe for tyranny. Have you ever heard of a movie called Minority Report? (No, I haven’t seen it, but I know about it.)

      And the government certainly may not choose its targets based on their protected speech. To do so would have a chilling effect on that speech, which violates the first amendment.

      And now we come to what kind of person you truly are; אט דא ליגט דער הונט באגראבן. You cite the Southern Poverty Law Center as some kind of authority. Why not just cite the Nazi Party or the PLO while you’re at it? The SPLC is not a legitimate source for any information. It is first of all a money-making scam, and it makes that money by making up stories about threats that don’t exist, and frightening people into donating. Secondarily, it functions as a hate-filled far-leftist propaganda unit, inciting its gullible followers against good and wonderful people and groups. It has already inspired at least one terrorist attack, and will undoubtedly do more. Whatever it does is almost by definition wrong, and whoever promotes it should be shunned.

  • 26. Jay from LI wrote:

    Point # 1 – Free Speech Is Not Absolute

    “In the 1969 case Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Court announced a new standard to govern speech like Schenck’s, setting a much higher bar for what could be punished by the government: speech that is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.””

    Point # 2 – You do have the right to get on the plane after you purchase a ticket from an airline co. However, the government, can regulate the activity before the plane. See the Commerce Clause.

    Point # 3 – 770 is privately owned. As a Jew, I am not a part owner who can pitch a tent, live there and claim co-tenancy rights. They can restrict all they want.

    Final Point – Investigation is not the same thing as restricting. I do not propose restricting hate speech in certain democracies, but I advocate investigating those who engage in heat speech. For example, hate speech against Jews in Germany is necessary for obvious reasons.

    A lack of laws and restrictions can result in anarchy and harm to minorities. I leave you will an interesting book – Animal Farm.

    Reply
  • 27. Anonymous wrote:

    Judge David J. Hale in Louisville ruled Friday that the suit against Trump, his campaign and three of his supporters can proceed. Hale found ample facts supporting allegations that the protesters’ injuries were a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s actions, and noted that the Supreme Court has ruled out constitutional protections for speech that incites violence.

    Shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre is criminal in that its content can be considered disturbing the peace. Shouting ” I need a doctor” in a crowded theatre is not disturbing the peace. Content does matter.

    Reply

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