The Rabbinical Alliance of America—Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis—joins America in mourning the three African Americans who were fatally shot by a gunman motivated by hate on August 24, 2023, at a Jacksonville, Florida, Dollar General Store. The murderer used racial slurs, left behind a racist screed and drew swastikas on his firearm. His actions were racially motivated and his victims are all African Americans.
The tragic shooting came five years to the day after a mass shooting in Jacksonville. The attack also occurred on the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington. The evil symbolism of choosing this day for a racist attick is horrifying.
This was one of several shootings reported in the US over two days, including one near a parade in Massachusetts and another at a high school football game in Oklahom. There have been at least 470 mass shootings in the US so far in 2023. This is almost two shootings for each day of the year so far.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “words cannot express our outrage at this senseless, hateful, racist act of pure evil and cold-blooded murder. As Jews, we have been victims of antisemitism and the target of hateful attacks throughout the ages. We have witnessed hate and terror in Israel and around the world. We relate to the pain of the victims’ families and communities over this vicious assault against mankind. The victims and their families are in our prayers.
“We firmly preach that a hateful attack on innocent victims of any group – in this case, African American people – is an attack on all Americans. We at the Rabbinical Alliance of America call upon all peaceful Americans to protest this vile act of racism and to condemn it in the strongest possible terms. What started as an ordinary Sunday should not have ended in tragedy for the decent, peace-loving victims and their families. We must be proactive in teaching respect and civility and that each human life is precious. We must constantly stress that there is no room for hate in America. The fact that a 21-year-old can be so depraved and disturbed shocks the conscience of our country and requires us as a nation to engage in self-reflection with a brutally honest eye to understand how such a disconnect from reality can occur in the first place.
“We, as Americans, cannot allow the memory of these martyrs to go in vain. Therefore, the Rabbinical Alliance of America encourages all Americans to engage in acts of kindness and charity in their memory. We encourage our fellow Americans to exit their comfort zones and to reach out in love and friendship to build bridges with people of differing persuasions. We must combat the hate and polarization of our moment with love and friendship, with hope and prayer. We firmly believe that through building a foundation of unity and friendship, we will fortify our society so that such tragedies shall be no more.”