The Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh

The hate-filled and deadly attack on those worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh yesterday was a vicious and appalling act of anti-Semitism, an attack on Jewish people everywhere.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of these Jewish brothers and sisters who mourn the tragic loss of loved ones and who have once again to come to terms with the intrinsic and despicable evil of racism and religious bigotry.  We express our solidarity, too, with all the members of the Jewish community here in the Seattle area. They are our friends and their loss is our loss, their grief is our grief.

In the end, the brutal attack on worshippers in Pittsburgh was an attack not only on our Jewish brothers and sisters who for far too long have been the victims of the most vicious forms of bigotry and hatred imaginable, it is also an attack on all people whose right to worship God according to their conscience and their tradition came under attack yesterday.

May our prayer together this morning unite us in our resolve to fight against every form of hatred and bigotry; may it recommit us to building bridges of understanding in this hopelessly fractured and divided nation of ours, and may it be an act of love for and solidarity with our Jewish friends, an earnest prayer for their healing and hope.

Father Michael G. Ryan


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  1. Chris McDonnell says:

    Michael Ryan is to be thanked for the sincerity of his words
    It is a pity others expected to show leadership don’t follow his example
    I wrote these few words this morning

    Abraham’s Children

    High in the Tree of Life
    on Squirrel Hill
    song birds nested, rested
    in Sabbath celebration,
    Abraham’s children gathered round
    the shoots of the olive tree
    in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    Stilled, silenced by anger
    one by one by one they fell.

    Crow hesitated
    atop his own barren tree
    blaming other song birds
    for their loud, fake songs
    deaf to his own discordant notes
    stridently disturbing the city streets.

  2. Joe O'Leary says:

    I lived in Squirrel Hill in 1982-3 and worshipped in two of the synagaogues there, one liberal, warm and welcoming, the other staid and traditional (when visiting with my sister she was placed in the women’s section). This was a serene and civilized neighbourhood and the obscene crime is unimaginable.

    Who is stirring up this anachronistic hatred? When you reactivate one dead prejudice do you reactivate them all? In 2017, first year of the Trump presidency, antisemitic incidents shot up by 50% or so.

  3. marie mc carron says:

    I followed the link to st.James’ cathedral and was drawn to the active detailed ministry of religious sisters in its service over many years. The website makes me envious re its pastoral activity and from which its sympathy with its Jewish neighbours flows. Special to enter so easily the church community elsewhere so thanks for the contact.

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