JCRC — “Central Indiana Jewish community ‘appalled’ after synagogue shooting”

Jenny Dreasler, WISHTV, October 28 2018


The Jewish community in central Indiana was on high alert after a gunman opened fire inside a synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday, killing 11 people.

The tragedy was also a terrifying one for an Indianapolis man whose family belongs to the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.

The 20-minute attack at Tree of Life congregation in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood left at least six others wounded, including four police officers who dashed to the scene, authorities said.

In light of the attack in Pittsburgh, there will be extra security at synagogues in Indianapolis, Carmel and others across the state to ensure the safety of the local Jewish community.

For Indianapolis resident Matt Tobe, who grew up in Pittsburgh, Saturday’s shooting hit too close to home.

“I started panicking,” said Tobe. “I immediately ran out of the meeting I was in and called my mom.”

Tobe spoke to News 8 via phone Saturday from Chicago as he made his way back to Indianapolis.

Tobe described the early moments after the shooting happened as terrifying, as he realized his family could have been in danger.

“At first, obviously my reaction was more just trying to make sure my family was OK,” said Tobe. “Then from there, that went immediately into tears and feeling horrible for the community and for everyone I love there.”

Luckily, Tobe’s mother, aunt and uncle were not inside the synagogue at the time of the shooting.

“It’s just stomach-turning and it makes me sick,” said Tobe.

Just hours after the attack, beefed-up security could be seen at local synagogues.

“We feel very vulnerable here on Meridian,” said senior Rabbi Brett Krichiver with the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. “We’re the most visible Jewish presence in the state and in the city.”

Krichiver said that more than ever, safety is top of mind.

“For most houses of worship, when there is a service going on, the doors are open. We are inclusive, we try to welcome people in,” said Krichiver. “Unfortunately, this type of event makes us think twice about that policy. For me, it’s just sadness and we try to teach our children not to hate. Unfortunately, we are living through this very polarized time in our country, and leadership at the top doesn’t seem to be willing to do much about it.”

For Tobe, who visited Auschwitz last week, Saturday’s shooting was an act of hate he thought he’d never see again.

“We just last week said the words ‘never again,’ which is what you say when you’re talking about the Holocaust,” said Tobe. “So, to have just last week said that standing in Auschwitz and then to come back a week to the day later, and see an act like this take place on our soil, it breaks my heart. There’s a lot of hatred in this country right now. I’m not quite sure why, or what can be done about it, but I think we’ve got to figure that out and we’ve got to figure how we can curb some of that.”

The Jewish Community Relations Council released a statement condemning the attack:

The Indianapolis JCRC, Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, and the entire central Indiana Jewish Community is shocked and appalled to learn of the fatal shooting unfolding in a Pittsburgh synagogue… We are communicating closely with Indianapolis and Carmel Police to make sure our local agencies and synagogues have increased protection.

Later Saturday night, Lindsey Mintz, the Indianapolis JCRC executive director, released this statement:

The attack on Squirrel Hills is a hate crime. The JCRC condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific attack on Jewish-Americans that happened today inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. As the Anti-Defamation League and FBI have reported consistently over the past several years, antisemitic acts and expressions are currently at an all-time high, and increasing fastest in the Midwest.  The JCRC tracks antisemitic incidents in Indiana, and is witnessing up close how antisemitism has been given room to infect all layers of our society.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Post Your Thoughts

Related Posts
JCRC & MAI — “Several Hoosier groups express opinions following Trump Jerusalem statement”

JCRC & MAI — “Several Hoosier groups express opinions following Trump Jerusalem statement”

The Interchurch Community divided — Muslim Alliance of Indiana opposes the Trump Administration’s move of its embassy to Jerusalem; the Jewish Community Relations Council supports it.

JCRC — Nazi symbols appear on walls at Pike High School for second day in a row

JCRC — Nazi symbols appear on walls at Pike High School for second day in a row

“Nearly one third of all Jewish youth under the age of 17 had experienced anti-Semitism in the last year,” says the Council’s Lindsey Mintz. She cited a recent Indianapolis survey. Part of a national uptick in anti-Semitism including swastikas displays.

JCRC — DespiteEven as Indiana lawmakers from both parties continue to echo Gov. Eric Holcomb’s call for hate crime legislation, the deep divisions that foiled previous attempts to pass a bias-motivated crime bill appear to still be entrenched.  Monday, Holcomb announced his intention to get a hate crime bill through the Statehouse during the 2019 General Assembly session. He said he would be meeting with legislators, corporate leaders and citizens to find consensus so Indiana can join the 45 other states that have statutes regarding crimes motived by hate or bias.  “No law can stop evil,” Holcomb said, “but we should be clear that our state stands with the victims and their voices will not be silenced.”  Holcomb made his public statement of support for hate crime legislation following an act of vandalism at a Carmel synagogue over the weekend. An outbuilding at the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla was spray-painted with Nazi symbols.  Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature have since issued statements reiterating the governor’s view. But Democrats noted that while they have proposed and supported hate crime measures, their colleagues across the aisle have resisted and failed to take action in getting a bill passed.  “(The Democrats) have persistently pursued bias-motivated crime legislation in the Indiana Senate, and each year our legislation is ignored by the majority party with promises of future consideration,” said Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson.  Incoming Senate president Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, said he is pleased to collaborate with Holcomb and the House of Representatives to continue the work of crafting “legislation that mirrors our Hoosier hospitality.”  Conversely, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, voiced support for the victims but was noncommittal about passing a law.  “This summer, the Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code will take another look at the issue of bias-motivated crimes and identify opportunities for legislative consensus,” Bosma said. “Indiana Judges already have the ability to enhance sentences based on a criminal’s motivation when presented with evidence of bias, but perhaps more needs to be done to clarify and highlight this existing provision.”  Also Monday, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill released a 761-word op-ed also calling for the Legislature to pass a law that “criminalizes hateful conduct.”  However, his position mirrors the opposition to hate crime bills that these measures carve out special protections for select groups. The list of protected classes often included in the proposed legislation is seen as excluding individuals who are part of a majority.  “My proposal differs from many other so-called hate-crimes proposals in that it avoids entirely the exercise of separating ‘protected groups’ from ‘non-protected,’” Hill wrote. “Why should some groups receive greater protection from hateful conduct than others?”  For community organizations pushing for a bias-motivated crime bill, the removal of the specific protected groups would be unacceptable. David Sklar, director of government affairs for the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, called it a non-starter.  Hate crime bills that have been introduced in the Indiana Legislature in the past have included a list of characteristics identifying the protected classes. The bills specify that individuals or groups could have their sentences enhanced if they commit a criminal act that targets others because of their religion, race, gender and ethnicity. Holcomb’s support, hate crimes bill lacks unity

JCRC — DespiteEven as Indiana lawmakers from both parties continue to echo Gov. Eric Holcomb’s call for hate crime legislation, the deep divisions that foiled previous attempts to pass a bias-motivated crime bill appear to still be entrenched. Monday, Holcomb announced his intention to get a hate crime bill through the Statehouse during the 2019 General Assembly session. He said he would be meeting with legislators, corporate leaders and citizens to find consensus so Indiana can join the 45 other states that have statutes regarding crimes motived by hate or bias. “No law can stop evil,” Holcomb said, “but we should be clear that our state stands with the victims and their voices will not be silenced.” Holcomb made his public statement of support for hate crime legislation following an act of vandalism at a Carmel synagogue over the weekend. An outbuilding at the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla was spray-painted with Nazi symbols. Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature have since issued statements reiterating the governor’s view. But Democrats noted that while they have proposed and supported hate crime measures, their colleagues across the aisle have resisted and failed to take action in getting a bill passed. “(The Democrats) have persistently pursued bias-motivated crime legislation in the Indiana Senate, and each year our legislation is ignored by the majority party with promises of future consideration,” said Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson. Incoming Senate president Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, said he is pleased to collaborate with Holcomb and the House of Representatives to continue the work of crafting “legislation that mirrors our Hoosier hospitality.” Conversely, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, voiced support for the victims but was noncommittal about passing a law. “This summer, the Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code will take another look at the issue of bias-motivated crimes and identify opportunities for legislative consensus,” Bosma said. “Indiana Judges already have the ability to enhance sentences based on a criminal’s motivation when presented with evidence of bias, but perhaps more needs to be done to clarify and highlight this existing provision.” Also Monday, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill released a 761-word op-ed also calling for the Legislature to pass a law that “criminalizes hateful conduct.” However, his position mirrors the opposition to hate crime bills that these measures carve out special protections for select groups. The list of protected classes often included in the proposed legislation is seen as excluding individuals who are part of a majority. “My proposal differs from many other so-called hate-crimes proposals in that it avoids entirely the exercise of separating ‘protected groups’ from ‘non-protected,’” Hill wrote. “Why should some groups receive greater protection from hateful conduct than others?” For community organizations pushing for a bias-motivated crime bill, the removal of the specific protected groups would be unacceptable. David Sklar, director of government affairs for the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, called it a non-starter. Hate crime bills that have been introduced in the Indiana Legislature in the past have included a list of characteristics identifying the protected classes. The bills specify that individuals or groups could have their sentences enhanced if they commit a criminal act that targets others because of their religion, race, gender and ethnicity. Holcomb’s support, hate crimes bill lacks unity

For community organizations pushing for a bias-motivated crime bill, the removal of the specific protected groups would be unacceptable. David Sklar, director of government affairs for the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, called it a non-starter.