Florida Leaders Respond to Synagogue Shooting

After the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh on Saturday, when an Anti-Semite killed 11 people, Gov. Rick Scott announced additional security for religious institutions across the state.

Scott announced that the Florida Highway Patrol will increase its patrols of churches, synagogues and other religious buildings and will work with local law enforcement on the matter.

On Saturday, Scott condemned the attack in Pittsburgh.

“The shooting at a synagogue in Pennsylvania was an act of pure evil and hatred. There is no place in America for intolerance and violence, and we will do everything in our power to protect Floridians who are peacefully gathered to worship. My wife, Ann, and I are heartbroken that someone would harm families gathered at a place of love and community,” Scott said before turning to the Sunshine State.

“As governor, I will take any action necessary to protect our communities. I appreciate our state troopers and Florida’s law enforcement community for their dedication to keeping people safe. Everyone deserves to be able to express their religious freedom safely and peacefully,” Scott said.

On Monday, two Democrats representing South Florida in Congress–U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz–will hold an event at the Jewish Federation of Broward County in Davie “to denounce the anti-Semitism that fueled a horrific mass shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh on Saturday” with religious leaders and Anti-Defamation League (ADL) representatives.

“This is a moment for religious and community leaders to band together and speak out against this and other recent hate-driven crimes that are becoming all too common, not only across the nation but in our own community,” Deutch’s office noted.

Deutch weighed in on the shooting on Saturday night.

“This morning, I spoke to high school activists about taking action to stop mass shootings. Then I walked out to learn of a mass shooting at a synagogue. A horrific act of anti-Semitism,” he posted on Facebook. “This afternoon, I spoke to a different group of high school students, this time at a synagogue. Because it was still Shabbat, they weren’t using their phones; they had no idea what happened in Pittsburgh. We talked about Israel and anti-Semitism. I told them how important it is for our community to speak out against anti-Semitism that can sometimes lead to violence, even in synagogues. They didn’t understand why I said that. Sadly, they’ll learn after sundown.

“I’m a Jew. I grew up in Pennsylvania,” Deutch added. “My conservative synagogue was the center of my life. This mass shooting in Pennsylvania feels intensely personal, like the one that occurred just a few miles from my home in Florida. This anti-Semitism is terrifying. But terrorists like this guy will not, cannot, cause us to back down. We’ve got to stand up to anti-Semitism, racism, hatred and bigotry in all its forms. They cannot win.

“My heart breaks for the families, the community, and Pittsburgh. This synagogue, this Jewish community, and this neighborhood will never be the same. Sending love from South Florida. We are with you – today, tomorrow and every day as we work to make this madness stop. We’re divided on so much, but can we come together to condemn hatred and violence? Just that? Maybe that would be a start.”



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