Once again Jewish blood was shed in the midst of a place of prayer, in a Mikdash Me´at – the little sanctuary (Ezekiel 11:16, so interpreted in the Talmud, Megilah 29,a; as Synagogue or Torah School) – where our hopes and commitments are being renewed day after day, for more than two thousand years. Again the old and incessant hate took its victims, the same grief and pain, and the biblical verse (Proverbs 10:7) is coming in our mind: “The memory of the righteous is a blessing”
The Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations from Saint Joseph's University held a service of inter-religious solidarity in wake of the Oct. 27 synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pa. which killed 11 people.
Saint Joseph's University, Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations Statement:
“Dialogue is the Only Way” – Pope Francis
A Statement in the Wake of the October 27, 2018 Synagogue Attack in Pittsburgh
The Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University, and indeed the entire university community, is appalled and sickened by the mass shooting at a synagogue on October 27, 2018 in our own Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Worshippers gathering for Shabbat services were brutally gunned down by an assailant who shouted murderous antisemitic slogans as he did so. The fact that this atrocity occurred in the sacred spaces of a synagogue where several congregations worship only multiplies the revulsion we feel. This episode is also an assault on the principle of freedom of religion that is fundamental to the American experiment in democracy and pluralism.
We wish to express our deep sorrow and solidarity with the Tree of Life community in Pittsburgh, as well as to the Jewish communities who are the near neighbors and friends of Saint Joseph’s University, and indeed Jews around the world.
At the Western Wall in 2000, Saint Pope John Paul II forever committed the Catholic Church “to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant.” At the Roonstrasse Synagogue of Cologne in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI lamented “the rise of new signs of antisemitism and various forms of a general hostility towards foreigners,” urging that Jews and Christians “must come to know one another much more and much better.” More recently in 2014, Pope Francis has written that “Dialogue and friendship with the Jewish people are part of the life of Jesus’ disciples.”
May the Holy One of Israel lead us all along the path of dialogue, remove all hatreds from us, and bring us all to divine shalom.
Philip A. Cunningham, Ph.D.
Adam Gregerman, Ph.D.
Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Ph.D.
October 28, 2018