Thousands worldwide join WJC in paying respects to victims of Pittsburgh shooting

01 Nov 2018
01 Nov 2018 Facebook Twitter Email Print

NEW YORK - The World Jewish Congress is calling on people around the world to show their solidarity with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh in the wake of the deadly shooting that took the lives of 11 people, and to send messages of condolences to the families of the victims. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder at the official vigil.

The WJC will compile the messages to present to the families at the end of the 30-day period following the burial. Those who wish to contribute are invited to send their messages to or post a comment on the WJC's website.

A World Jewish Congress delegation led by President Ronald S. Lauder was in Pittsburgh this week to stand with the community in the aftermath of the attack. Lauder arrived on Sunday, after canceling a visit to Moscow in which he was scheduled to address an international conference on combatting antisemitism, xenophobia, and racism.

“The Jewish community in the United States has suffered the greatest anti-Semitic attack in our country’s history, and it is our duty to show our support and help the community in whatever way we can,” Lauder said. “We have seen this anti-Jewish hatred building for years, on both the far-right and the far-left, and we prayed that we would never again see the day that innocent Jewish men and women would be murdered just for being Jewish. We cannot and will not be silent anymore. We cannot and will not tolerate these attacks against the Jewish people. Let’s stand together in our resolve to fight antisemitism and incitement once and for all.”

Over the course of the week, the delegation was joined by senior WJC professionals including Chief Financial Officer Emeritus Rabbi Chaim Reiss, WJC North America Executive Director Betty Ehrenberg, and members of the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps, including its president, Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart.


Lauder and the delegation joined thousands of supporters at an official interfaith gathering and vigil on Sunday, organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh in collaboration with synagogues and Jewish organizations, in conjunction with partners from other faith communities, government leaders and Pittsburgh residents. As the week progressed, the delegation attended memorials and the funerals of the victims, laying a wreath of mourning at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and met with members of the community and its leadership, to convey condolences from the WJC’s affiliated communities on six continents. Hundreds of people worldwide have already sent messages of solidarity and mourning to the WJC to be passed on to the community.

WJC North America Executive Director Ehrenberg and Cong. Eliot Engel, of the WJC-supported International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, also represented the organization on Tuesday at a special vigil in New York at the Park East Synagogue, in the presence of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres,  Cardinal Timothy  Dolan and Archbishop Demetrios.

The World Jewish Congress lays wreath in memory of the victims.


WJC-JDCorps President Sonat Birnecker Hart.