Hadassah Statement on the San Diego Chabad Shooting

Sunday, Apr 28 2019

Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA) is devastated by the Saturday morning shooting at the Chabad of Poway, in San Diego County, and by the recent targeting of other houses of worship in America and around the world. 

We mourn, with the worldwide community, the tragic loss of one of our Hadassah sisters, Lori Gilbert-Kaye z”l, a beloved member of the Bat Harim group of Hadassah San Diego, who was fatally shot, while trying to save the rabbi, during morning services. Three others were wounded, including a child and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein.

Learning that the woman who died in the horrendous shooting in San Diego was a Hadassah member doesn’t make this despicable act worse, but it does bring it closer to home.  We are an organization that truly cares about its members, leaders, Associates, and supporters -- but we also care about our communities and when one of us suffers, we all suffer.

Our deepest condolences go out to the Gilbert and Kaye families and to all those who are grieving.  May those injured have full and speedy recoveries.  Although physical wounds heal within a timely manner, emotional ones take that much longer.  I pray we are truly a support system for those who will need us to help them through this most difficult time.

Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this tragedy, especially our members in the San Diego and Southern California area, and we express gratitude to an off-duty officer and San Diego's “first responders,” who were successful in capturing the gunman.

This shooting comes six months to the day after 11 people were killed in a shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.  According to a report by the ADL, anti-Semitic incidents and attacks have risen by 60% in the United States in the last year alone. This shocking escalation in hate both at home and abroad requires swift and broad action by our local, state and national leaders.

Hadassah members have a part to play by advocating for our policy priorities including the Never Again Education Act; a bill that would expand Holocaust Education and anti-hate curricula in the schools. As members of Hadassah, we must reaffirm our commitment to fighting anti-Semitism and hate wherever they are present.

When one life is taken, all our lives are affected, and we stand united in common grief and a conviction to make the world a better place. May we go from strength to strength.

May the memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye z”l serve as a blessing to all who knew her and as inspiration to all who only knew of her. 


Rhoda Smolow
National President

Read more about Lori Gilbert-Kaye in Hadassah Magazine.

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