To all those affected by this senseless and tragic act of gun violence at Squirrel Hill, including and especially the families, friends and loved ones of the victims, I send my warmest prayers of love, healing and strength. Nothing can prepare someone for this level of pain.

Today’s mass shooting at Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a reprehensible anti-Semitic hate crime, which took lives away and once again created fear and division instead of love and unity. I condemn this act of domestic terrorism and stand with Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation, the Squirrel Hill neighborhood and our Jewish Brothers and Sisters. Hate, in any form, has no place in America nor in our world.

Republicans’ escalating divisive rhetoric, lack of accountability and inaction against assault weapons without addressing gun violence all contribute to tragedies such as this one. Words matter. Harmful and inflammatory words drive violent and tragic behavior. Sensible gun control would reduce gun violence. It is irresponsible to assert that armed security or protection would be the answer to reduce gun violence.

No one should have to question whether their lives are safe while worshipping at a synagogue, nor at a mosque, a church, a temple or any place of worship.

We must come together, heal and act. We must stop the encouraging of hate and focus on manifesting love. We must all declare that our principles of unity far outweigh our individual differences.

Today and every day, may love and unity prevail so that we move forward to turn pain into promise. We are all #TreeofLife. We are all #SquirrelHill.

May their memory be for a blessing. Shalom.