In response to the domestic terrorism at the Tree of Life synagogue, the Florida Holocaust Museum's board chair Michael Igel and executive director Elizabeth Gelman jointly sent a letter to the Tampa Bay community.
Igel and Gelman call the events "devastating" and remind readers the shooting "is reported to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States."
They also implore people to remember one of the Holocaust's main lessons: "People must not remain silent when they are confronted by prejudice."
Gelman and Igel go on to ask "every Floridian to do his or her part to make sure that love, respect, and hope conquer hate" and make the following suggestions, printed verbatim:
- Volunteer at the Museum, your local house of worship or civic organization.
- Contact schools and your children's teachers to let them know about The FHM's Teaching Trunks and other free resources and programs created to combat hatred, bullying, prejudice and propaganda.
- Arrange for your school or civic organization to participate in our Skype With A Survivor program.
- Contribute to support our mission, your local Holocaust center or other nonprofit that is working to educate your community and create a more respectful society.
"We will continue to stand with the victims, their families, the congregation, the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, and all others who are subjected to hate," Igel and Gelman close. "The world must know that we are not bystanders. WE ARE ALL UPSTANDERS."
They encourage the use of the hashtag #IAmAnUpstander get posted with "the good you do" on social media.
FHM, which already has heightened security in place, says the St. Petersburg Police Department has increased its presence near the museum.
The shooter, who allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks after his arrest, made comments in an online forum that he believed Jewish people were assisting the caravan of migrants still pretty far south of the US border. The account — along with the entire platform, gab.com — in currently inaccessible. (Read the site's current landing page.) Upon entering the synagogue, the shooter allegedly yelled "All Jews must die" and opened fire on a bris.
Rather than glorify the shooter, CL has opted not to use his name. Instead, we're honoring the victims. Here are their names rather than his:
Brothers David and Cecil Rosenthal, 54 and 59, respectively
Joyce Fienberg, 75
Richard Gottfried, 65
Rose Mallinger, 97
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
Husband and wife Bernice and Sylvan Simon, 84 and 86, respectively
Daniel Stein, 71
Melvin Wax, 88
Irving Younger, 69