Our hearts are heavy over the tragic loss of life in Charleston including the death of the church’s pastor, South Carolina State Sen. Clementa Pickney and we send prayers for the families and members of the Emanuel AME church of Charleston.

We endorse the statement of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs:

“Hate crimes attack both individual victims and entire communities. They are meant to isolate and terrorize. We stand in direct contrast: for an inclusive and pluralistic community, one that cherishes life and recognizes that every person is created in the divine image.

"This horrible act surfaces the ugly currents of racism that still run deep in our society. We must address them directly and justly … to expand the jurisdiction and capacity of the U.S. Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies across the country to fully address these types of instances. We applaud the local and state authorities' vigorous efforts to capture the suspected perpetrator. We hope that all appropriate resources are marshaled in a unified pursuit of justice. We must clearly and unequivocally demonstrate that hate violence has no place in our society.”

May we join together for the common good, protecting the right for each to worship his or her God in peace and safety.

The Religious Action Center is collecting prayers and letters of support for the Emanuel AME Church community. Resources are available on their website: rac.org

Executive Committee
Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix
Rabbi Jeremy Schneider, President
Rabbi Robert Kravitz, Vice President
Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman, Secretary
Rabbi Micah Caplan, Treasurer
Rabbi Rony Keller, Immediate Past President

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