The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — joins the United States in mourning the victims of the West Freeway Church massacre. On Sunday, December 29, 2019, a man shot and killed two innocent church attendees in White Settlement, Texas. Fortunately, two parishioners heroically shot and killed the perpetrator, thereby disturbing his evil plan of death, mayhem and destruction inside a house of religious worship.

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, condemned the shooting and stated, “Words cannot express our outrage, shock and horror. This massacre comes on the heels of the Jersey City Massacre and the Monsey Machete terror attack. We wonder where all this violence, hate and destruction will end. How many more innocent victims must we lose before this bloody reign of terror comes to an end? As Jews we have a proud but sad history of facing the evil of hate, bigotry and anti-Semitism. Be it pogroms, the Holocaust, terror in Israel or recent current events, the Jew is no stranger to hate. Sadly, we relate on a personal level to the mourning in Texas and pray for the victims and their families. We pray that the families receive the heavenly support to be strong, and find the fortitude to rebuild their lives after this tragedy.

“The RAA once again calls on clergy, the faith-based community, elected representatives and all peace-loving Americans to unite and send a clear message that hate against one group is hate against all Americans. We dare not tolerate such anti-American behavior in our nation, which is built on democratic values of liberty and justice for all. In order to be successful in the war on hate, it cannot be treated as a partisan issue.

“We must not allow a sanctuary, a place of healing, love and prayer, a place of unity, family and community, to become a place of grieving and sorrow. We must not allow what started as a normal day, with people seeking spirituality and meaning in their religion, to end in terror and a massacre. This is not normal and can never be accepted as a recurring news cycle.

“As a society, we must focus on prevention, as well as prosecution and punishment. We must emphasize education about the corrosive nature of hate, how it poisons everything it touches. America stands for liberty and democracy. We must focus on those positive messages, in order to show that hate, bigotry and anti-Semitism cannot have a place in American culture and normative behavior.

“Winning the war on hate requires a concerted national effort. We call upon all stakeholders to take this task seriously, to put aside their differences and focus on rebuilding a society based on classic American values. Only with active participation and full energy can we as a nation succeeded in reversing this serious problem.

“As we are in the eighth day of Chanukah, we pray that the Almighty inspire all those who have hate in them to realize their error. May they channel their energy into the positive and help make this world a better place for all people.”