Boston politicians and Jewish organizations reacted to the shooting at a Jewish synagogue near San Diego, California, that took place on Saturday with messages of support for the affected congregation. They condemned anti-Semitism and hate.
The attack, which left one person dead and three others injured, took place at Chabad of Poway Synagogue during services celebrating the last day of Passover. Since then, Massachusetts politicians have taken to social media to express their solidarity.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh wrote on Twitter Saturday he was thinking about the victim, 60-year-old Lori Kaye, and her surrounding community — especially during a holiday intended to commemorate ancient Jews’ liberation from slavery and oppression.
Emma Koblick, director of communications at Temple Israel of Boston, wrote in an email her congregation stands with fellow Jewish people in Poway and that Temple Israel will continue working to keep its congregants safe.
“Our community is devastated by this act of hateful anti-Semitic violence,” Koblick wrote. “We mourn the loss of lives and stand in love and support of Chabad of Poway. We are continuing to work with local law enforcement agencies and remain vigilant.”
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker responded to news of the attack with a tweet Sunday condemning all forms of hate.
Several Jewish people in Boston reacted to the shooting — which took place on the six-month anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — with resignation.
Michael Weingarten, treasurer of The Boston Synagogue, said violence and hate against Jews and people of other religions have become the “new normal” across the world.
“Our attitude was that we were in a new environment in which it has become increasingly acceptable for racists to make comments publicly,” Weingarten said, “and then for some of the extreme edges of that group to feel as though they can act on it.”
Weingarten said in order to combat hatred such as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia that leads to violence, residents of Boston and the United States as a whole need to practice empathy and better relate to other people’s experiences.
“If everybody is just for themselves, then what do you do when somebody is coming after you?” Weingarten said. “We need to stand together and to be empathetic for the issues of others, whether it’s racial, religious, whatever.”
He added the federal and local governments need to enact stricter gun control laws to ensure that killers do not have access to weapons capable of mass murder.
“It’s striking that every time there’s one of these massacres, they go in with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle,” Weingarten said. “And there’s got to be some way in which we can impress upon a majority of our politicians that maybe this is something that shouldn’t be allowed.”
The shooter at the Poway shooting used an AR-15 style assault weapon in the attack, according to New York Magazine.
Alysa Williams, 21, of Brighton, said she identifies as a Jewish woman and noted she thought it was sad she felt desensitized to the news of yet another shooting.
“It’s really insane to me that we’re considered such a developed country, and [mass shootings are] normalized. It’s no longer a top news story, it’s more of like, ‘Oh, another mass shooting happened,’” Williams said. “Me, personally, I don’t have the same reaction like I did with Sandy Hook almost 10 years ago.”
Allston resident Kelsey Johnson, 23, said mass shootings in America are too widespread a problem to be ignored.
“[The shooting] seems like it’s something that has happened and is going to keep happening,” Johnson said. “It’s just like a public health issue, it’s an epidemic.”
Liam Wajsfelner, 20, of Allston, said the news of the shooting was “incredibly sad” and that he blamed both the Republican Party and the National Rifle Association for limiting gun control in the United States.
“Everybody in my family is on the same page that, yes, we believe our freedoms shouldn’t be infringed upon, but there’s a certain limit to that,” Wajsfelner said. “Why do you need an AR-15 in Boston, in California? What are you going to go do with that?”