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San Diego synagogue shooting: Army vet, Border Patrol agent’s …

Posted By on April 30, 2019

Oscar Stewart of Rancho Bernardo, was the one who screamed at the suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, and ran him out. Nick Oza (ozan), Arizona Republic

When Jonathan Morales andOscar Stewart heard the gunshots, they ran toward them.

The off-duty Border Patrol agent and an Iraq War Army veteran helped stop a suspected gunman who had opened fire at Chabad of Poway on Saturdayin what authorities praised as an "act of courage."

One person died and three more were injured in the hate-fueledattack during Passover services.

Stewart, 51, was in the back of the room when the shots rang out, he told reporters. The veteran said his military training kicked in.

"I ran to fire. That's what I did. I didn't plan it. I didn't think about it. It's just what I did," he said.

What we know now: Funeral service for San Diego synagogue victim who shielded rabbi to be held Monday, and more updates

Stewart said he started yelling expletives at the gunmen, who stopped shooting when he heard Stewart's voice.

Get down! and Im going to kill you, Stewart said he yelled.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, the suspected gunman fled the synagogue to a nearby vehicle. Stewart was in close pursuit.

"Stewart caught up to the vehicle as the suspect was about to drive away," the department said in a statement.

Stewart said he began punching the shooter's window whenMorales told him to get out of the way.

"He yelled, 'Clear back, I have a gun,'" Stewart said. Then, Morales began firing.

More: Funeral for 'hero' synagogue shooting victim today; emotional rabbi lauds congregation's bravery

The off-duty agent hit the car, but the gunman drove away, police said. Authorities later arrested John T. Earnest, 19,alongInterstate 15. A rifle was found in the front passenger seat, police said.

"Mr.Stewart risked his life to stop the shooter and saved lives in the process," the sheriff's department said in a statement.

Oscar Stewart of Rancho Bernardo, was the one who screamed at the suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, and ran him out, gives media interview from the horrific incident at the memorial site across Chabad of Poway synagogue.(Photo: Nick Oza, The Arizona Republic)

Stewart's heroics didn't stop there. The man said he rushed back into the synagogue where he saw Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein bleeding from his hand and congregantLori Gilbert-Kaye on the ground.

"I immediately went to the lady on the floor and started doing CPR on her. She didnt make it,"Stewart said.

When houses of worship become targets: San Diego synagogue latest in a deadly trend

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune,Stewart said he served in Iraq from March 2003 to April 2004. He had also been abomb disposal tech in the Navy, and joined the Army after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"I never thought Id hear gunfire again," he told theUnion-Tribune.

Goldstein said Moralesrecently discovered his Jewish roots and traveled more than three hours from El Centro to pray with the congregation. The rabbi recalled telling Morales, Please arm yourself when you are here. We never know when well need it.

"I don't think I'm a hero,"Stewart said."I just did what I did,"

Contributing:Trevor Hughes, Chris Woodyard, Doyle Rice and Joel Shannon.


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Youngest victim of California synagogue shooting says ‘I don …

Posted By on April 29, 2019

At the age of 8, Noya Dahan has already fled rocket attacks in the Gaza Strip, witnessed her home in California vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti and, now, she's survived a shooting at her synagogue that left one beloved member dead and she, her rabbi and her uncle with bullet wounds.

The youngest victim of Saturday's shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego, Noya told ABC News that the safety of the one place she used to feel secure in, a synagogue, has been shattered.

"I never thought that was going to happen to me because like it's a safe place, you're supposed to feel safe," she said.

A day after an alleged 19-year-old gunman, identified by police as John Earnest, opened fire inside the synagogue, turning a Passover service into what Noya's father described as "like a war," survivors spoke out, offering details on the bullets, blood and chaos they witnessed in the latest gun rampage in America.

Noya was hit in the face, near her right cheek and in her right leg by bullet fragments during the attack. She said she will never forget how loud the gunshots were or seeing her rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, bleeding profusely from both hands after being shot by the gunman.

"I saw the rabbi jumping like crazy, and I couldn't even imagine...," Noya said. "I felt like I was in a movie or in a dream or something."

Rabbi Goldstein, who founded the synagogue 33 years ago with his wife, said he was just getting prepared to deliver his Passover sermon at about 11:30 a.m. when he went out into the lobby and ran into one of the temple's members, Lori Kaye, 60.

"She's been a member with us since the '90s. She's one of the most kindest persons, an activist, who's always there to help others, to help the world. That was her mission in life, just to be out, to do kindness and goodness," Goldstein told ABC News on Sunday.

He said Kaye was at the service with her husband, Dr. Howard Kaye, and their 22-year-old daughter, Hannah.

"She asked me what time Yizkor was," he said of a special pray for the departed. "Her mother just recently died and she came to memorialize her."

He said he went to his office to freshen up, and when he came back Kaye had confirmed on her own the time for the Yizkor prayer service.

"We both looked and smiled at each other," the rabbi said. "I turned around to walk into the banquet hall, where I was going to wash my hands, and I heard the first loud noise."

At first he didn't know if Kaye had fallen or if a table had toppled over.

"I turned around and I see the shooter standing there in position with a rifle moving it towards me," Goldstein said.

He said he put both his hands in front of his face in an effort to protect himself. A bullet severed the index finger of his right hand, and another nearly did the same to his left index finger, he said.

He saw Kaye, mortally wounded, lying on the floor. Bullets continued to fly by on either side of him, he said.

"I was centimeters from death," Goldstein said. "I turn my back towards him and he's shooting bullets towards me, trying to get me down in the banquet hall."

He said he saw a group of children in the banquet hall, including his grandchildren and Noya and he immediately began to gather them up to get them out of harm's way.

Noya's uncle, Almog Peretz, 34, who lives in Israel but is in California on vacation, told ABC News that he was walking from the banquet hall when he heard the shots and saw the gunman.

"I turn around and I saw him and the gun, the big gun. He looks at me and he shoots one after one," he said.

He said he picked up a 5-year-old girl walking next to him, lifted another child in his arms and began to direct up to 20 children out a side door, directing them to the rabbi's house next door.

He said he didn't realize he had been shot in the back of the right leg until a relative noticed that the back of his pant leg was full of blood.

His brother-in-law, Noya's father, Israel Dahan, said he was frantically searching for his three children. He said he initially feared one of his girls who had been in the restroom was dead and sent his brother-in-law in to find her.

Israel Dahan, who moved his family to California to get away from the danger of rocket attacks on their former home in the Gaza Strip, said his daughter was frantic, but alive.

Rabbi Goldstein, who received a phone call from President Donald Trump while speaking with ABC News, said a U.S. Border Patrol agent named Jonathan, who had become a member of his congregation and another member named Oscar Stewart, a former military soldier, confronted the gunman.

"One of the miracles that happened here was that the rifle got jammed," he said of the gunman's weapon.

He said Oscar and Jonathan chased the gunman out of the synagogue. He said Jonathan, the Border Patrol agent, picked up a gun apparently dropped by another member of the congregation, and fired at the suspect, hitting his car as he drove off.

A police K-9 officer saw the gunman nearby, officials said. The suspect jumped out of his car, put his hands up and was arrested, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said during the conference on Saturday.

Rabbi Goldstein said that once the shooter fled the synagogue he went back inside and saw Lori Kaye lying unconscious on the floor. He said her husband entered the lobby and fainted.

Initially refusing medical attention, Goldstein, his bleeding hands wrapped in a pray cloth, addressed his terrified flock.

"I saw the sight of fear, of anger and despair on my fellow Jews..., I got up on the chair and I said, 'Guys, Am Yisrael Chai,'" he said reciting the Hebrew phrase for 'the people of Israel live.'

"'We are alive,'" he said he told the worshipers. "'We need to stand tall. We need to be proud of our heritage and do not allow any of this terrorism to tear us down."

Since the shooting, he has asked himself why he survived.

"What do I do with this? What do I do with my survival? I think there is a message that I need to share with everyone," he said. "And we've got to get the message out there: People need to be aware that anti-Semitism is a reality. It's happening now just like it was happening prior to the holocaust. This is how the holocaust started and we have to get up and stop it."

For young Noya, whose home was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti four years ago, life has changed forever.

"I just kept on dreaming about it. I just couldn't ... dream about something good. I just dreamt about the bad things," she told ABC News. "I really don't feel safe because this is not the first and definitely not the last time this is going to happen. So now I know just to watch out and stuff for dangerous things to happen."

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Youngest victim of California synagogue shooting says 'I don ...

One Dead in Synagogue Shooting Near San Diego; Officials …

Posted By on April 28, 2019

LOS ANGELES The gunman entered the synagogue on Saturday yelling anti-Semitic slurs, and opened fire with an A.R. 15-style gun. He paused when the rabbi of the congregation tried to talk with him. But he fired again, shooting the rabbi in the hand.

His attack left a 60-year-old woman dead, the rabbi wounded and a 34-year-old man and a girl with shrapnel wounds.

It was the Sabbath and the last day of Passover, a holiday that celebrates Jewish freedom.

The shooting, at Chabad of Poway, about 25 miles north of San Diego, is the most recent in a series of deadly attacks at houses of worship, including the mass shooting at mosques in New Zealand last month and the church bombings in Sri Lanka this past week. It came exactly six months after one of the worst acts of violence against the American Jewish community in decades left 11 dead in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

[Update: Rabbi injured in synagogue shooting says terror will not win.]

Local officials called the shooting in Poway, Calif., a hate crime. The gunman, whom officials identified as John Earnest, a 19-year-old resident of San Diego, screamed that Jews were ruining the world as he stormed the synagogue, according to a government official with knowledge of the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.

The gunman then fled the building, perhaps because his gun stopped working, the authorities said. An off-duty Border Patrol agent at the synagogue shot at the suspects vehicle as he tried to escape. The bullets punctured the suspects car but did not injure him.

The synagogue did not have a guard at the time, the official said, and there were about 40 to 60 people there at the time of the shooting. Some had come to services especially to say Yizkor, a memorial prayer for the dead that is said on Jewish holidays.

The rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, and three of his congregants were taken to Palomar Medical Center.

The San Diego police chief, David Nisleit, said that after the shooting, the gunman called the California Highway Patrol to report his location on Interstate 15 in Rancho Bernardo. He then surrendered to a police officer who was responding to the attack, jumping out of his vehicle with his hands up.

The police said they were investigating whether the gunman had posted a manifesto before the shooting on the online message board 8chan.

The document, an anti-Semitic screed filled with racist slurs and white nationalist conspiracy theories, echoes the manifesto that was posted to 8chan by the gunman in last months mosque slayings in Christchurch, New Zealand. The documents author, who identified himself as John Earnest, claimed to have been inspired by the Christchurch massacre, as well as the shooting in Pittsburgh, and motivated by the same white nationalist cause.

President Trump offered his sympathies from Washington. Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community, he said. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, which has tracked an increase in anti-Semitic acts in recent years, said the shooting was part of a pattern of deadly extremism.

This was a pointed attack on Chabad, on the visible Jewish community here, and this is a collective attack on all Jewish communities this is anti-Semitism unleashed, Mr. Greenblatt said. In a pattern where prejudice is minimized in an environment where intolerance is trivialized and when prejudice becomes politicized, we shouldnt be surprised.

The author of the manifesto also said that he was responsible for a fire at a mosque in Escondido, Calif., last month, and that he had written graffiti related to the New Zealand attacks at the scene.

Chief Craig Carter of the Escondido Police Department said that investigators were examining whether the claim was legitimate. If it is indeed the same person, that would definitely give closure to the mosque and our community, Chief Carter said.

The document also referred to a live video stream and linked to a Facebook page, an indication that the author may have tried to stream the shooting in real time.

Attendance at the synagogue was larger than usual because of the holiday, with many older congregants there to pray for their deceased parents, said Oscar Stewart, who was inside the synagogue during the shooting. At the time, Rabbi Goldstein was speaking to a congregant in the lobby.

When Mr. Stewart heard shots ring out, he said his training from his years in the military kicked in.

He looked scared, Mr. Stewart said. I yelled as loud as I could in my mean sergeant voice. I yelled, Get down!, and then I ran toward him.

Mr. Stewart said the gunman fled shortly after. He was a coward, he added.

Nancy Levanoni, 80, who has been going to the synagogue for 17 years, said, Apparently, God was looking after us because we got there a little later than normal.

Services started at 10 a.m. and Ms. Levanoni and her husband, Menachem Levanoni, 81, the former president of the synagogue, got there closer to 11:15 a.m.

As we were getting out of the car, we heard gunshots, she said. I thought maybe someone was stepping on those little plastic bubbles.

They headed toward the synagogue, where Ms. Levanoni saw the rabbi bleeding from a finger, where he appeared to have been shot. One of her closest friends was on the floor, she said.

Ms. Levanoni learned that her friend had been shot and was seriously injured. The pair had been friends for 17 years and the victim was very active in the synagogue, she said.

She cant do enough for people around her, Ms. Levanoni said. If you are sick, she brings you food. Shes a wonderful, wonderful person.

Walter Vandivort, who lives in the neighborhood of the synagogue, said he had heard gunshots while he was indoors.

He described the neighborhood as a peaceful, middle-class area that had never seen this kind of violence in the decades he had lived there.

I see the Orthodox Jews walking to their synagogue and weve never had a problem, he said. The Chabad of Poway was established in 1986, according to its website, part of the Lubavitch movement that focuses on outreach.

Poway, which describes itself as the city in the country, is both rural and urban, a place where sports stars have made their homes, and where horse trailers are parked in front of many houses.

Neighbors gathered on the sidewalks near the synagogue as police officers taped off and closed major roads. Officials in San Diego said that they would increase highly visible patrols and security through the weekend, but that there were no other specific threats.

As helicopters flew overhead, Judith Zimmer, a member of Chabad Poway, stood outside of nearby Poway High School, which was being used as a meeting place, and tried to call her daughters in San Diego to tell them that she was fine and had not been at the service at the time of the shooting.

I was going to go with a friend, but she hurt her foot and I decided to stay home, Ms. Zimmer said with tears in her eyes. Were a close-knit group here and Poway is a wonderful place to live, but hate happens all over San Diego. Im sad and disappointed, but Im not afraid.

People held hands as they walked into the high school. One man was holding a teenage girl tightly, his arm wrapped around her. Most of them looked down at the ground as they went inside.

As palm trees swayed under a bright blue sky, officers diverted traffic, and drivers looked out of their windows trying to see past the yellow tape that was blocking the main thoroughfare.

I heard what happened and had to come over and see if I could help, said Avi Edberg, who attends Temple Adat Shalom, another Poway synagogue. My friend is still being interviewed by the police. Im going to wait for her. I know shes not at the hospital, so thats a good thing, right? This is so horrible. Just horrible.

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One Dead in Synagogue Shooting Near San Diego; Officials ...

Poway synagogue shooting: Suspect John Earnest in custody …

Posted By on April 28, 2019

What we know so far

A shooting at a synagogue outside San Diego where worshippers were celebrating the last day of Passover on Saturday left one woman dead and three others injured, authorities said. The suspect has been identified as 19-year-old John Earnest, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said.

CBS News has confirmed the name of the victim who died is Lori Gilbert-Kaye.

Earnest entered Chabad of Poway and opened fire on worshippers, police said. The weapon appeared to be an AR-15 rifle, Gore said.

Gore said an off-duty Border Patrol agent believed to be inside the synagogue shot at the suspect as he fled. The sheriff said the agent didn't hit him but struck his car.

Gore said Earnest is being investigated for a possible role in a nearby mosque arson last month. Earnest did not have a history with police prior to Saturday's shooting.

San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said the 19-year-old suspect called police to report the shooting and a California Highway Patrol officer heard it on a police scanner, saw the suspect and pulled him over. Nisleit said the suspect got out of his car with his hands up and he was taken into custody without incident.

Witnesses told CBS San Diego affiliate KFMB-TV the suspect showed little emotion as he was taken into custody.

A girl and two men, including the rabbi, are being treated at local hospitals. According to the trauma surgeon at Palomar Medical Center, the rabbi underwent surgery after suffering defensive wounds to his index fingers. A 34-year-old man and the girl were hit with shrapnel from bullets, authorities said.

The shooting came exactly six months since ashooting at a Pittsburgh synagoguekilled 11 people in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.

President Trump, on the way to a rally in Wisconsin, said "at the moment it looks like a hate crime." He also tweeted about the off-duty Border Patrol agent who stopped the suspect.

"The Poway I know comes together," Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said at a news conference Saturday. "We always walk with our arms around each other and we will walk through this tragedy with our arms around each other."

The Poway sheriff's department sent out a tweet saying the shooting occurred just before 11:30 a.m. Saturday. According to the Chabad of PowayFacebook page, the synagogue was holding a Passover celebration scheduled for 11 a.m.

Officials say San Diego County deputies were called just before 11:30 a.m. Four patients were admitted to Palomar Health Medical Center Hospital around 12:30 p.m., spokesman Derryl Acosta said.

A handful of police cars were parked outside the synagogue in the city of Poway, just over 20 miles north of San Diego. Crime tape surrounded the street in front of the building.

Passover began on April 19 and was ending Saturday.

In Pittsburgh, a truck driver who authorities say expressed hatred of Jews has been charged in the Oct. 27 rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue. He's pleaded not guilty.


Poway synagogue shooting: Suspect John Earnest in custody ...

California synagogue shooting: What We Know Now

Posted By on April 28, 2019

Editors, USA TODAY Published 3:12 a.m. ET April 28, 2019 | Updated 2:43 p.m. ET April 28, 2019

A gunman opened fire during Passover services at a California synagogue, leaving one dead and several injured. Wochit

One woman was killedand three others were wounded when a man entered a synagogue during Passover services Saturday at theChabad of Poway templeand opened fire with an AR-style assault weapon shortly before 11:30 a.m.

Poway isabout 25 miles northeast of San Diego. The city's mayor, President Donald Trump and California Gov. Gavin Newsom all called the attack a hate crime.

The suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, was arrested and is being questioned by authorities.

Fred Nasseri, a longtime congregant at Chabad of Poway, told USA TODAYthat despite the incident we will not be broken. This is not going to break us.

Here is what we know so far.

Lori Kaye, 60, who was killed, was"very giving, kind. She was an angel," Nasseri said. "Ive known her for 25 years and I can say nothing but good things about her ... the community lost a great soul.

Injured in the melee wereRabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Noya Dahan, 8, and Almog Peretz, 34, authorities said. Goldstein on Sunday, in an interview with "Today,"described the chilling momentswhen he became "face-to-face" with the gunman.He said he put his hands up to protect himself and lost one of his fingers in the shooting.

An off-duty Border Patrol officer wasworking as a security guard at inside the templewhen the attack unfolded. He fired on the gunman as the suspect fled the area, hitting the gunman's car, authorities told reporters during an afternoon news conference.

San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said that as one of his officers was on the way to the shooting, he overheard on the scanner that the suspect had called into police, saying "he was just involved in this shooting" and giving his locationalong Interstate 15. The officer quickly spotted the suspect, who pulled over and jumped out of his vehicle with his hands up, surrendering to authorities.

Synagogue members walk outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Poway, Calif. (Photo: Denis Poroy, AP)

San Diego Sheriff William Gore said authorities were poring over John Earnest'ssocial media accounts anda letterthat Gore described as a "manifesto" posted online around the time of the attack.

Gore said officials were working to verify the posting's authenticity and did not offer details on any motive. But the lettersupposedly details the shooter's hateful motivations and his reasons for targeting members of the Jewish faith.

Earnest was also being investigated in connection with the arson at a mosque in nearby Escondido last month, Gore said.

Earnest was a student at Cal State University San Marcos, school officials said and had attended MountCarmel High school.

President Donald Trump called the attacka "hate crime" before he departed the White House for a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Saturday night. He alsopraised the response by law enforcement and offered his condolences to those affected in the attack.

"Mydeepest sympathiesgo to the people that were affected the families, the loved ones by the, obviously looks right now based on my last conversations looks like a hate crime," Trump said. "Hard to believe, hard to believe."

California's Gov.Gavin Newsom said those in his state, like other parts of the world, should not have to fear due to their religion.

"Charleston, Pittsburgh, Quebec, New Zealand now our own Poway, California. No one should ever fear going to their place of worship," he said on Twitter. "Hate continues to fuel horrific and cowardly acts of violence across our state, country, and world. It must be called out. CA stands with Poway."

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California synagogue shooting: What We Know Now

California Synagogue Shooting Leaves 1 Killed, 3 Injured : NPR

Posted By on April 28, 2019

Mourners participate in a candle light vigil for the victims of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue shooting at the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church on April 27, 2019 in Poway, Calif. Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

Mourners participate in a candle light vigil for the victims of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue shooting at the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church on April 27, 2019 in Poway, Calif.

Updated at 8:32 a.m. ET Sunday

A gunman opened fire at a California synagogue Saturday morning, killing one and wounding three more people.

The incident took place at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in the San Diego suburb of Poway, Calif., and came on the final day of Passover.

Authorities say the suspect fled the synagogue and called police to say he was involved in the shooting. Following his arrest, they identified him as 19-year-old John Earnest of San Diego.

Reports say a document posted online by someone with the same name is full of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim views and claims responsibility for setting a nearby mosque on fire in March.

Four people were wounded and taken to a hospital, where a woman died from her wounds, police said.

Friends and members of the congregation identified the woman who died as 60-year-old Lori Gilbert Kaye of Poway.

"She's a huge presence here. She's just one of those people that were always here in some form or fashion," fellow congregant Tanya Wervy told Max Rivlin-Nadler in a report for NPR. Wervy said Gilbert Kaye was a generous person who will be missed.

"Witnesses said she jumped in front of the synagogue's founding rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, who was wounded in the index fingers on both hands," The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Police say a rabbi suffered gunshot wounds to his hands and underwent surgery, while a 34-year-old man and child were hit by bullet shrapnel. Doctors say they are doing well, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.

The child was transferred to a children's hospital.

Synagogue members talk to a San Diego County Sheriff's deputy outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue on Saturday in Poway, Calif. Denis Poroy/AP hide caption

Synagogue members talk to a San Diego County Sheriff's deputy outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue on Saturday in Poway, Calif.

The suspect had an AR-style assault weapon in his vehicle when he was arrested, according to authorities. They say he had no prior arrest warrants or contact with law enforcement, and that they are reviewing social media posts and a letter attributed to the suspect.

The shooting is being investigated as a possible homicide, hate crime and federal civil rights violation. Authorities are also working with the FBI to investigate whether the suspect is linked to the mosque arson.

"This is not Poway," Mayor Steve Vaus told reporters. "We always walk with our arms around each other, and we will walk through this tragedy with our arms around each other ... Poway will stay strong, and we will always be a community that cares for each other."

The shooting occurred six months to the day since 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Sara Bloomfield, the Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, said in a statement, "Moving forward this must serve as yet another wake-up call that antisemitism is a growing and deadly menace. The Holocaust is a reminder of the dangers of unchecked antisemitism and the way hate can infect a society. All Americans must unequivocally condemn it and confront it in wherever it appears."

The Chabad of Poway synagogue was scheduled to host a Passover Holiday Celebration on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m., according to its website. The festivities were scheduled to conclude with a holiday meal at 7 p.m.

But shortly after the scheduled start time, deputies were called to the area.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters at a rally in Green Bay, Wis. on Saturday, President Trump offered his condolences to members of the synagogue.

"Tonight, America's heart is with the victims of the horrific synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif., just now," the president said. "Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated."

He also thanked law enforcement for their "courageous response."

The sheriff's department said it was not aware of any more threats to the community.

NPR's Emma Bowman contributed to this report.


California Synagogue Shooting Leaves 1 Killed, 3 Injured : NPR

Understanding Hasidic Jews and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism

Posted By on April 28, 2019

In general, Orthodox Jews are followers who believe in a fairly strict observance of the rules and teachings of the Torah, as compared to the more liberal practices of members of modern Reform Judaism. Within the group known as Orthodox Jews, however, there are degrees of conservatism.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some Orthodox Jews sought to modernize somewhat by accepting modern technologies. Those Orthodox Jews who continued to adhere tightly to established traditions became known as Haredi Jews, and were sometimes called "Ultra-Orthodox." Most Jews of this persuasion dislike both terms, however, thinking of themselves as the truly "orthodox" Jews when compared to those Modern Orthodox groups who they believe have strayed from Jewish principles.

Haredi Jews reject many of the trappings of technology, such as television and the internet, and schools are segregated by gender. Men wear white shirts and black suits, and black fedora or Homburg hats over black skull caps. Most men wear beards. Women dress modestly, with long sleeves and high necklines, and most wear hair coverings.

A further subset of the Heredic Jews is the Hasidic Jews, a group that focuses on the joyful spiritual aspects of religious practice. Hasidic Jews may live in special communities and, Heredics, are noted for wearing special clothing. However, they may have distinctive clothing features to identify that they belong to differentHasadicgroups. Male Hasidic Jews wearlong, uncut sidelocks, called payot. Men may wear elaborate hats made of fur.

Hasidic Jews are called Hasidim in Hebrew. This word derived from the Hebrew word for loving-kindness (chesed). The Hasidic movement is unique in its focus on the joyful observance of Gods commandments (mitzvot), heartfelt prayer, and boundless love for God and the world He created. Many ideas for Hasidism derived from Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah).

The movement originated in Eastern Europe in the 18th century, at a time when Jews were experiencing great persecution. While the Jewish elite focused on and found comfort in Talmud study, the impoverished and uneducated Jewish masses hungered for a new approach.

Fortunately for the Jewish masses, Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer (1700-1760) found a way to democratize Judaism. He was a poor orphan from the Ukraine. As a young man, he traveled around Jewish villages, healing the sick and helping the poor. After he married, he went into seclusion in the mountains and focused on mysticism. As his following grew, he became known as the Baal Shem Tov (abbreviated as Besht) which means Master of the Good Name.

In a nutshell, the Baal Shem Tov led European Jewry away from Rabbinism and toward mysticism. The early Hasidic movement encouraged the poor and oppressed Jews of 18th century Europe to be less academic and more emotional, less focused on executing rituals and more focused on experiencing them, less focused on gaining knowledge and more focused on feeling exalted. The way one prayed became more important than ones knowledge of the prayers meaning. The Baal Shem Tov did not modify Judaism, but he did suggest that Jews approach Judaism from a different psychological state.

Despite united and vocal opposition (mitnagdim) led by the Vilna Gaon of Lithuania, Hasidic Judaism flourished. Some say that half of European Jews were Hasidic at one time.

Hasidic leaders, called tzadikim, which is Hebrew for righteous men, became the means by which the uneducated masses could lead more Jewish lives. The tzadik was a spiritual leader who helped his followers attain a closer relationship with God by praying on behalf of them and offering advice on all matters.

Over time, Hasidism broke up into different groups headed by the different tzadikim. Some of the larger and more well-known Hasidic sects include Breslov, Lubavitch (Chabad), Satmar, Ger, Belz, Bobov, Skver, Vizhnitz, Sanz (Klausenberg), Puppa, Munkacz, Boston, and Spinka Hasidim.

Like other Haredim, Hasidic Jews don distinctive attire similar to that worn by their ancestors in 18th and 19th century Europe. And the different sects of Hasidim often wear some form of distinctive clothingsuch as different hats, robes or socksto identify their particular sect.

Today, the largest Hasidic groups are located today in Israel and the United States. Hasidic Jewish communities also exist in Canada, England, Belgium and Australia.

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Understanding Hasidic Jews and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism

Zionism 101 – can someone explain??…? | Yahoo Answers

Posted By on April 28, 2019

Zionism is both a political movement and an ideology. Generally speaking it has several main themes, however one which stands out more than others which is supporting the preservation of the land for the Jewish people in the Israel, where the Jewish nation originated over 3,200 years ago.

While Zionism is based in part upon religious tradition linking the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, the modern Zionist movement was secular, beginning largely as a response to rampant antisemitism in Europe and in many parts of the Muslim world during the 19th Century.

The Holocaust had destroyed much of the existing Jewish society in Europe, thereby stirring the Zionist movement and ultimatly culminating in the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The term Zionism is generally considered to mean "support for Israel." However, a variety of different, and sometimes competing, ideologies that support Israel fit under the general category of Zionism, such as Religious Zionism, Revisionist Zionism, and Labor Zionism.

The term is also sometimes used to refer specifically to the programs of these ideologies, such as efforts to encourage Jewish emigration to Israel.

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Zionism 101 - can someone explain??...? | Yahoo Answers

The Shame of the Anti-Defamation League – Commentary

Posted By on April 27, 2019

The burgeoning hate aimed at Jewish immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century was the driving force behind the 1913 formation of the Anti-Defamation League. According to its original charteras laid out by its sponsoring organization, Bnai Brith, the largest Jewish communal group in the United Statesthe ADLs immediate object was to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience, and if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people. Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against, and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.

Countering organized hate movements was, practically from the start, at the center of the ADLs mission. The seminal case was that of Mary Phagan, a teenaged factory laborer in Atlanta, who was found murdered in 1913. Leo Frank, the factorys Jewish superintendent, was framed in what became Americas blood-libel story for budding white supremacists. Frank was abducted from prison in 1915 and lynched. Before he was killed, Franks sentence was commuted by Georgias governor due in large measure to the argumentation and lobbying of the ADL and associated civil-rights organizations. The horror of Franks demise did not vitiate the lesson that organizing and solidarity with other minority groups were the key to political success in protecting Jews.


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The Shame of the Anti-Defamation League - Commentary

What is Zionism? | Yahoo Answers

Posted By on April 27, 2019

Zionism is many things to many people. At its base, Zionism is the belief in the necessity for a Jewish homeland or state. As an actual movement, Zionism started in the early 20th century. Jews were increasingly finding it difficult to live in Europe and the desire to end the diaspora was growing. There was much debate over where to form this new Jewish homeland. Many argued for South America. One wealthy American Jew actually bought several thousand acres in upstate New York (on the Canadian border) and proposed it as an option. The draw to the 'historical homeland' of Palestine was great. After WWI the state of Palestine was disorganized. There was little nationalistic identity, and during the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon all made attempts to incorporate the territory that became Palestine. Wealthy American and European Jews began to buy land from wealthy Arabs, and then encouraged poor European Jews to migrate. Many Jews who already lived in Palestine argued against this, believing that such migration would cause class strife that would manifest itself along religious lines. As poor Arabs lost their jobs working the farms/orchards/etc, this is precisely what happened - what started as violence over jobs quickly developed religious overtones on both sides and the animosity intensified. After WWII there were millions of displaced Jews who had no where to go. To make a long, complicated story short, it was decided to go to Palestine and create the state of Israel. The UN/major world powers supported this action (or at least didn't actively oppose it), and Palestine lost most of its territory. The next 50 years saw several attempts by the Arab nations to retake Palestine (supported in large by the Soviet Union). All of these attempts failed to achieve real success (there were some minor gains from time to time) thanks to the support of Western nations (France, US, England) and the intense desire of the citizens of Israel. Eventually the conflict has devolved from open warfare into guerrilla and/or terrorist warfare.

Most years since 1948, Israel, Palestine, and the Zionist question have made world headlines due to the violence and strife. Some have argued that Israel destabilized the region. Others state that it is only fitting and proper that there is Jewish state, pointing to the numerous pogroms in Europe and the Americas over the last 600 years. Some argue that Israel has its right to exist but must treat the Palestinians properly. The variety and complexity of the issues surrounding Israel and Zionism is enormous. It is an issue that has been at the forefront for generations and will continue to be for decades to come.

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What is Zionism? | Yahoo Answers

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