Reflection on Yesterday’s Shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue

October 28, 2018

Yesterday, a gunman walked into a synagogue in Pittsburg, murdering 11 people and injuring 6 more. Our hearts mourn for the victims and their loved ones.

Before the attack, the gunman expressed rage against Jews who are working to ensure the United States is a safe haven for refugees and immigrants. The shooter fixated on HIAS, a Jewish organization that works tirelessly to ensure refugees and asylum-seekers from all faiths and backgrounds find welcome, safety and freedom. Founded in 1881 as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, HIAS began by resettled Jewish refugees fleeing persecution, including the families of our co-founder Greg Sharenow and several of our supporters. HIAS now resettles and supports refugees around the world whose lives are in danger for being who they are.

Refugee Action Fund has partnered with HIAS since our inception in 2016 at Interfaith Refugee Project. We approached HIAS with an idea that we wanted to galvanize our networks to support refugees, and they provided us with a home and the infrastructure to turn our idea into a reality. Today, Refugee Action Fund continues to be a proud supporter of HIAS, and today we feel prouder than ever to stand with an organization that cares for the most vulnerable regardless of their faith or background. HIAS represents empathy, compassion and care for the stranger—the best tools we have to ward against hate and violence.

Together, we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community, marginalized communities, and immigrants and refugees across the nation. We invite you to consider how you and the people in your life may have been shaped by the history of persecution, flight and hope for a better life. If you read one article about this act of hate, we suggest this short op-ed, from a client of HIAS.

We send our deepest condolences to all those who lost loved ones in this attack. May their memories be a blessing.