The Hill // Op-Ed By Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler, and Dr. Sayyid Syeed of the Islamic Society of North America

This is an excerpt. Visit The Hill’s website to read the entire op-ed

The mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh devastated communities across America. We mourn the loss of life, and in our mourning, we must face what this has revealed about the state of our nation. We must commit ourselves to work.

The gunman’s statements on social media show how anti-Semitism is intertwined with a particular vision for this country — a vision that sees this country as a safe haven for some people and not for others. The gunman’s words on social media specifically called out HIAS, the Jewish refugee agency, for its dedication to resettling refugees from all religious and ethnic backgrounds. The gunman hated Jewish people, and he especially hated the welcome that the Jewish community extended to other groups he despised.


An attack on worshippers is an attack on religious liberty. Like so many, I, Amanda Tyler, am heartbroken and grieving this vicious act of violence and hatred. I’m praying for Tree of Life synagogue and all our sisters and brothers whose very existence is under threat. We live in a nation that lifts up religious liberty as an essential ideal. It isn’t a luxury; it is core to what it means to be an American. And yet, when we see people targeted in their very places of worship, we know this ideal is not yet realized.

Together we mourn, and we commit ourselves to educate our communities and build stronger interfaith bonds to better uphold our American ideals of religious freedom for all people who seek a country in which they are safe and free.

This is an excerpt. Visit The Hill’s website to read the entire op-ed