Our Brother Alephs and Sister B’nai B’rith Girls worldwide,
We find ourselves reflecting with heavy hearts on this Shabbat. Today we witnessed the deadliest attack on the American Jewish community in U.S. history. We will remember. We will be resilient. We will persevere.
We firmly stand beside our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh, and the entire American Jewish community, following the tragedy at Squirrel Hill’s Tree of Life Synagogue. Squirrel Hill has been home to BBYO for nearly eight decades. Our roots run deep here. We are heartbroken to learn a place of peace was struck by senseless hate.
Our thoughts are with all the families of those impacted. We pray for a quick recovery for our first responders. We extend deep gratitude to law enforcement and the public officials who bravely put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve their neighbors; our family.
As Shabbat ends and a new week begins, we enter with a reaffirmed understanding of our generation’s responsibilities. It is ‘Our Turn’ to ensure that every community is respected and safe to thrive. Our response to acts of anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, to all forms of discrimination, will be with action.
We call upon BBYO’s tens of thousands of members and our peers everywhere to spread the light our world needs today. For Americans, in ten days, vote or help those that can to vote. For teens, Jews and everyone else, we must continue our advocacy to build the society that we all deserve. A society where everyone can grow, work, pray, learn and play safely. Remind those around you that they are loved.
Jewish text teaches that wisdom “is a Tree of Life to all who grasp it, and whoever holds on to it is happy; its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace.” (Proverbs 3:17-18) The Talmud says, “The highest form of wisdom is kindness." (Talmud Bavli Tractate Berachot 17a) We are comforted by our tradition and inspired by our heritage.
It is unconscionable that such an act of malice was carried out against the Jewish people in a country built upon core inalienable rights such as religious freedom. And yet, we are healed and made stronger by the overwhelming kindness we have received from around the world, all day long. We - teens, Jews, Americans and all good people - will move forward with determination; a determination to ensure that justice, acceptance and kindness will always prevail.
May the memories of those we lost today be a blessing forever. Oseh shalom bimromav, hu yaaseh shalom aleinu, v’al kol Yisrael, v’al kol yoshvei teiveil, v’imru. Amen. May the One who makes peace in the high heavens make peace for us, for all Israel and all who inhabit the earth. Amen.
Together As One Forever United As One Crew.
Mason, Aidan, Jed, Miles, Liam, Ethan
94th Grand Board of the Aleph Zadik Aleph
Noga, Emily, Marissa, Eva, Emma, Blair
74th International Board of the B’nai B’rith Girls
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