I have never been to Pittsburgh or to the Tree of Life Synagogue, but I still know it. Entering a synagogue feels safe and familiar. I remember my past and major milestones; births, baby namings, weddings, that revolve around my synagogue, or any synagogue. I have never met any of the victims, but I know them as well. I see my friends and my family and cannot imagine what the families in Pittsburgh are going through right now.
The sense of home makes this attack all the more unbearable. I cannot fathom people killed in a synagogue, or in any house of worship; places that are the source of spiritual comfort, safety, and community for so many of us. Sadly, we don’t have to look far back, only to last year and the murders in a mosque in Quebec City, to know that these horrific events do happen and closer to home than we would like to admit. Our churches, mosques, and synagogues are so important to many of us, and simply cannot be defined by these horrible attacks. These places of comfort are now more important than ever.
At Mount Sinai Hospital we wear our Jewish heritage with immense pride and will continue to do so. Mount Sinai was founded by and continues to be a vital member of the Jewish community of Toronto. We provide world class care every day. We also take responsibility for the safety of our patients, families, employees, physicians and volunteers. As with all public institutions, this is our top priority each and every day. As always, we work closely with our partners in health care and security to ensure our safety.
Our community also includes survivors of the Holocaust, and their families and friends. For this group, the weekend murders in Pittsburgh, and the specific targeting of Jews, is particularly horrific. No words can or should erase the emotions and memories of that tragic moment in our history. We will work to support those members of our community through this difficult time.
On behalf of our organization, I offer our deepest condolences to the families of those affected and to the Jewish community in Pittsburgh. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.