This Shabbat, both Friday night and Saturday morning, I expect to have several members of our highly esteemed Temecula Interfaith Council join us at services simply to show their support and solidarity with our Jewish community. Pastor Sandy Bentz from Hope Lutheran Church will be with us on Friday night and Fayaz Nawbi, the new director of the Islamic Center of Temecula will be with us on Saturday morning. These two friends of mine reached out to me immediately after the tragedy of last Saturday morning. I expect other members of the Interfaith Council to be joining us as well.
If you have a chance, check out #showupforshabbat on your social media platform. AJC is calling on Jewish communities and elected officials, religious and civic leaders, and other communal allies to flock to synagogues this coming Shabbat in a nationwide campaign named #ShowUpForShabbat. The AJC initiative is being launched in response to the horrific attack at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, which left 11 Jewish worshipers dead.
Rabbi Sandy Rosenstein
As a community, we all share in the horror and heartbreak over what happened yesterday during Shabbat morning services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg. As a kehilah, I know we extend our heartfelt condolences and support to the community of Squirrel Hill who are just beginning to grapple with this heinous hate crime that will forever impact their community.
Even as we struggle to understand how something like this can happen again and again, even as we extend our fervent refuah sh’lemah, I want you to be reassure that we doing all that we can to keep our shul and congregation safe. We are in frequent contact with the Temecula Police Department, it’s chief, officers who patrol the area around the shul as well as the Community Action Patrol Officers who also patrol our environs on Shabbat. We keep the shul alarmed when we are not present and are in the process of investigating more security measures. Our need to stay vigilant is vital. This is particularly true when there has been a threat to our community or other Jewish communities of this great nation of ours.
The safety and wellbeing of our congregation is always on my mind, all the more so when during services fellow Jews are targeted, gunned down and killed, only because they are Jews.
So far we have been spared the nightmare that many other houses of worship of a variety of faiths have encountered. We are doing everything we can to keep it that way.
If the shul is involved in an active shooting incident, here are some basic rules to follow:
- If you can safely exit the building, do so. Run to safety.
- If you can’t exit safely, shelter in place. Hide and make yourself the smallest target possible. Curl up in a fetal position as best you can. Dial 911 then be as quiet as possible.
This coming Shabbat will be our first opportunity as a congregation to mourn the loss of our fellow Jews. Please attend so we can process this tragedy as a community and also say Kaddish for those who are now making their way to the Olam ha’Bah.
May the entire community of Squirrel Hill, Jew and Gentile alike, find solace in the warm embrace of faith communities all over the world. May G!d comfort all among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Rabbi Sandy Rosenstein