JCRC Condemns Heinous Act of Terrorism at Chabad of Poway, CA

April 27, 2019 – 7:00 PM

Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement:

“The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) condemns the shooting at Chabad of Poway in Southern California. While the exact details of the shooting are still unfolding, it is clear that this heinous act of terrorism marred another holy day with senseless bloodshed. Reports indicate that at least one person was killed and several others are wounded. We pray for their full and speedy recovery.

“Today marks six months to the day since the shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where eleven people were murdered also on a Shabbat morning. In addition to Shabbat, today is the final day of Passover, one of four times per year when the Jewish Memorial Service, Yizkor, is recited. It is unthinkable that just as Jews in Pittsburgh and beyond were gathered to mourn those taken six months ago, the stillness of this holy day would again be shattered with a hateful act of gun violence.  

“We are also deeply disturbed as this attack comes in the wake of terrorism directed at Christians worshipers in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday and Muslims at Jumu’ah (Friday prayer) in New Zealand. It is as critical as ever that houses of worship take appropriate measures to protect their communities from terrorism. 

“It has also been reported that the suspect in custody was an avowed white nationalist and antisemite. Like the murderers in Pittsburgh and New Zealand, it appears he was motivated by a conspiracy theory that is core to many white nationalists’ ideology. The ‘white genocide’ or ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory absurdly asserts that a global cabal, led by Jews, (i.e. ‘Jews will not replace us’) is working to undermine the white race.

“In October 2018, the JCRC hired its first full-time Director of Community Security, Dan Plekkenpol. For thirty years, Dan served with the Plymouth Police Department and for the past decade as their Deputy Chief.  Dan is not only a resource for the Jewish community, but for our other local faith partners as well.

“The JCRC continues to communicate with local, state, and federal law enforcement as it pertains to the Jewish communities of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The JCRC has also contacted Jewish organizations to provide up-to-date information about this incident and fulfill our mission of organizing Jewish community security.

“Additionally, the JCRC is the lead advocate this session at the Minnesota State Legislature for state funding to supplement the federal nonprofit security grant program (HF 1850/SF 2034).  We are hopeful that the legislature and the Governor will come together to approve these urgently needed funds in the final Public Safety budget to enable at-risk houses of worship and other religious nonprofits to better safeguard all who gather at these centers of prayer and community.  

“Finally, we thank law enforcement and other first responders, both locally and in Poway, for their bravery and swift response to this incident.”

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As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.