Photo Credit: Wikimedia / public domain
World Chabad-Lubavitch Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York.

The leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch World Movement issued a statement late Saturday night, expressing shock and grief over the vicious shooting hours earlier that left one person dead and three others wounded, including the rabbi who founded the synagogue, at Congregation Chabad of Poway, California.

Read: Update: Victim Identified, Rabbi Among Wounded in Shooting at Chabad Shul in Poway, California

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“Upon the close of the Sabbath and Passover holiday in New York, we learned of the shooting at Chabad of Poway, in San Diego. The murder of an innocent woman and the wounding of several others who were celebrating their faith in the synagogue, on the terra firma of our freedom-loving country, is appalling and heartbreaking,” the statement read.

“We extend heartfelt sympathy to the family of Lori Gilbert-Kaye upon their terrible loss. We mourn with you in your time of grief.

“Our prayers continue for a speedy recovery to Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein and the others who were viciously injured by the shooter.

“We are grateful for the heroic efforts by individual(s) in the synagogue, blocking the shooter from inflicting further injury and preventing greater loss of life.

“We are thankful to the California Highway Patrol in San Diego for their quick response in apprehending the shooter.”

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement has become an integral component of Jewish life in every one of the 50 states in the U.S. as well as throughout the world. The Chabad leadership noted that its emissaries are “very concerned for the safety of every Chabad House/Center, and we are grateful for all the support by city and state agencies who work closely with them toward enhanced security measures.”

Nevertheless, as statistics have clearly shown, anti-Semitism is rising around the world — and around the United States, not only in words, but in deeds as well.

“Anti-Jewish violence in the United States has now risen to a level that cannot be ignored or dismissed,” said the Chabad-Lubavitch leadership. “We appeal to members of government on the local, state and federal level, media agencies, school teachers, college professors and university leaders to lead responsibly and take the initiative to uproot the destructive scourge that threatens the core values of this country.

“Let us remember that while primitive hatred against Jews was allowed to fester in many other countries, ultimately to the detriment of all their citizens, America’s values of tolerance and lovingkindness, and its commitment to law and order have been its greatest assets.

“The alarm bells of recent events are ringing, and we call upon leaders from across all political divides to stop the dangerous, downward spiral of anti-Semitism,” said Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky.

“In the spirit of Passover, the Festival of Freedom, may we each commit to work to bring security, healing and unity to our fractured nation.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.