URJ Statement Regarding Synagogue Attack in Halle, Germany

October 10, 2019; New York, NY - Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

After a year in which we saw an unacceptable rise in anti-Semitic violence, the murderous attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany, yesterday marked an ominous start to the Jewish year 5780. We mourn the two lives lost, and painfully recognize that it’s only because the gunman was unable to enter the synagogue that even greater bloodshed was prevented.

Anti-Semitism and the accompanying violence must be denounced by all people of conscience – whether it is perpetrated in Pittsburgh, Poway, Brooklyn or Halle. The shocking attempt to murder Jews worshiping on Yom Kippur is also a grim reminder that anti-Semitic violence is often entwined with hatred toward many other marginalized groups, such as immigrants and women, as the killer’s apparent manifesto shows. The Reform Movement remains committed to fighting hate, no matter who the target is.

We are also deeply concerned that the perpetrator joined a growing trend by livestreaming his attack on social media. Technology companies must leverage their expertise to ensure their platforms do not provide a forum for violent extremists to share their murderous actions with the world.

We echo the words of our colleagues at the World Union for Progressive Judaism representing the global Reform Movement in standing with the Jewish community of Halle.

May the new year that has just begun be a year of safety, justice, compassion, and peace for the Jewish community worldwide and for all people.


About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay relevant and innovative, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.

Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the largest and most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with nearly 850 member congregations and work that inspires, connects, and educates millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.

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