At a time reserved weekly for self-reflection and prayer, leaders of the Jewish community in San Luis Obispo found themselves grieving over the Saturday murders of several members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“I’m thinking about the pain and suffering of the folks in Pittsburgh, I’m also thinking about those in our community,” said Beth David Co-President Richard Beller. “Our hearts go out to the people of Pittsburgh in this time of tragedy and we support our Jewish community throughout the world.”
A gunman burst into the Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning, killing at least 11 worshippers and wounding several others. The gunman was injured in a shootout before he was caught by police.
President Trump told reporters shortly after the shooting that gun laws have nothing to do with the mass shooting, but said an armed congregation could’ve prevented the carnage.
“If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him,” Pres. Trump said.
Jewish Community Center Federation of San Luis Obispo County Exec. Director Lauren Bandari is troubled by the President’s comments.
“I think that specific statement on a day like today disregarded too intensely the souls that died, you know the fact is people were killed and we need to hold that,” Bandari said.
Bandari said she left Saturday Shabbat service deeply affected by the Pittsburgh attack.
“There’s going to be intense internal dialogue within every synagogue throughout this country,” Bandari said. “It’s not new. The Jewish community is really focused on its security, for many historical reasons. We have felt we need to protect ourselves.”
Bandari said she spoke with several leaders of local synagogues, as well as the SLOPD, to arrange a meeting this week to review security measures.