The Rabbinical Alliance of America—Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis—joins America in mourning the 18 people killed and 13 injured by a gunman at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston, Maine. The shooting suspect is still at-large and is considered armed and dangerous. Frightened residents within 50 miles of the attack remained locked in their homes on Thursday under a shelter-in-place advisory.

The attack Wednesday night stunned the state of Maine and the entire United States. Tragically, once again peaceful civilians were attacked in the most violent of ways for no apparent reason. Astonishingly, the shooting is the country’s thirty sixth mass killing this year.

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “while the exact motives of the gunman are unknown at this time, we cannot but shudder at the offense against humanity. Words cannot express our outrage at this senseless 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 wanton hateful attack on any innocent victim is an attack on all Americans. We at the Rabbinical Alliance of America call upon all peaceful Americans to protest this vile act of cold-blooded murder 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 person 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.”