On Saturday, October 27, Robert Gregory Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue just outside of Pittsburg killing eleven people ranging from 54 to 97 years in age. Six people were injured, among them four police officers. According to authorities, Bowers voiced anti-sematic remarks after being obtained telling S.W.A.T. team members that “all these Jews need to die.”
Tree of Life Synagogue houses three congregations and is a central hub for the Jewish community near Pittsburg. Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers lamented, “My holy place has been defiled.”
The Anti-Defamation League says the attack is part of a rise in anti-Semitism across the nation, with the numbers jumping radically last year. “We saw a 57 percent surge of acts of harassment, vandalism, and violence directed at the Jewish people across the country,” said Jonathan Greenblat, CEO of the ADL.
The outrage from the hate-filled attack stirred strong reactions. President Trump condemned the attack saying, “This evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us, it’s an assault on humanity.”
Christian leaders are responding in kind, Christians United for Israel founder John Hagee calling out the sin of anti-Semitism. “Anti-Semitism is a sin, and as a sin, it damns the soul.”
Faith & Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed said, “Virulent, violent anti-Semitism remains a serious problem in the US and the world at large. We condemn this hateful act of violence on a sacred place of worship of the Jewish faith and vow as Christians to oppose and defeat anti-Semitism in all its ugly forms.”
Meanwhile, Bowers faces 29 murder and hate crime charges. The US Attorney General for Pittsburgh will seek the death penalty in the case.