Brooklyn, NY: On Wednesday, November 8, 2018, at the monthly Rosh Chodesh (Kislev) conference of the Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim (RAA/IGUD), Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, presidium chairman of the RAA/IGUD, memorialized the 11 martyrs of the Pittsburgh Massacre of Shabbat, October 27, 2018. Rabbi Hecht acknowledged with deep appreciation the heartfelt efforts of President Donald Trump in demonstrating his support of the Jewish community during these trying and difficult times.

Rabbi Hecht noted, “Some people are saying, ‘where are the Orthodox?’ To this I respond, we are mourning together with our holy brethren who were brutally murdered in the Tree of Life Synagogue.” Rabbi Hecht emphasized “that the Rabbinical Alliance of America represents a significant segment of world Jewry and we are grieving. We feel the sorrow and pain of this tragedy and there are no words that can describe our sense of loss.”

Rabbi Hecht further publicly reiterated, on behalf of the RAA/IGUD’s 950 member rabbis, a thank you to President Donald Trump for personally coming to Pittsburgh, standing with the Jewish People in solidarity and displaying leadership in condemning the evil rise of anti-Semitism.

At the same time, Rabbi Hecht expressed strong disapproval with those elements within the Jewish Community who politicize the Pittsburgh tragedy. Rabbi Hecht called out the misguided protest during the President’s visit to Pittsburgh as not only inappropriate and irresponsible but furthermore fueling dissension within our society that needs healing.

Rabbi Hecht declared, “There are Jewish communal leaders and organizations that have issued statements in the name of the Jewish citizens of America that convey irresponsible and dangerous contempt towards the President. We, the Rabbis of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, roundly disapprove of this disrespect of the President. We pray that the Al-mighty shine His benevolence and bountiful blessings on the Trump Administration, and afford the President the wisdom, strength, and fortitude to continue as the leader of the free world.”

Rabbi Hecht also reaffirmed the RAA/IGUD’s full support of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate currently led by Chief Rabbi David Lau and Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef. Rabbi Hecht called upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reject civil marriage in Israel and further stressed the importance of retaining the Chief Rabbinate’s exclusive jurisdiction over conversion, marriage, kashrut and prayer services at the Kotel. “Halacha unifies the Jewish people. With the authority of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, we are assured that Jewish unity will be strengthened and enabled to face the challenges of assimilation.”

The conference was held at the home of Rabbi Yehoshua Balkany, Director of the Beth Yaakov of Brooklyn. Rabbi Balkany, delivered a scholarly Dvar Torah on Chanukah. Also participating in the monthly convocation were Rabbi Hanania Elbaz, presidium member of the RAA/IGUD and Rabbi of the Achi Ezer Yeshiva Congregation of Ocean Parkway; Rabbi Leibel Wulliger, Rosh HaKollel Mesivta Torah Vodaath; Rabbi Avrohom Yehoshua Kirsch, Dayan RAA/IGUD Bais Din; Rabbi Yosef Chaim Perlman, Dayan RAA/IGUD Bais Din; Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president RAA/IGUD; Rabbi Moish Schmerler, director RAA/IGUD; Rabbi Moshe Weiner, Rav HaMachshir Aleph K; Rabbi Dovid Katz, director of development RAA/IGUD; and Rabbi Cheskie Blau.