Reform Leader Condemns Horrific Attack on Orlando Nightclub

Contact: Max Rosenblum or Tracy Wolf
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Washington, D.C., June 12, 2016 – In response to the tragic violence in Orlando, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism issued the following statement:

The horrific violence in Orlando shakes us to our very core.  The staggering loss of life, yet again facilitated by a military-style weapon that has no place on the street, causes us deep pain. We pray for those who were murdered, for healing of body and soul for the injured, and for comfort to the families of all who were present in Pulse nightclub.

We are grateful to law enforcement, the first responders, and all those volunteers who are helping during this crisis.

The fact that such devastation targeted a club popular with the gay community and occurred during Gay Pride month reminds us that despite the strides made toward equality, there is much to be done to address ongoing homophobia that was for too long acceptable in this nation. The attack is also further proof, as if any were needed, of the imperative to end the culture of gun violence that grips the nation.

On this holiday of Shavuot, we engage in all night study and reflection of the words and lessons of Torah. No lesson is more fundamental than that which teaches that the spark of the Divine is present in every individual - gay and straight, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim.  In the face of tragedy, let us come together in a spirit of love and compassion for all and work together to create a nation that rejects violence and instead celebrates the holiness of every human being.


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit for more.