'Orthodox community can be proud over reaction to Pittsburgh'

Young Israel of Kew Garden Hills leader Rabbi Yoel Shonfeld discusses Orthodox community's reaction to Pittsburgh attack.

Orly Harari, New York ,

Rabbi Shonfeld at the 'Ohel'
Rabbi Shonfeld at the 'Ohel'
Orly Harari

Rabbi Yoel Shonfeld, the leader of the Young Israel of Kew Garden Hills and a member of the Queens Rabbinical Council and the RCA, thinks that the Orthodox community was exemplary in how it dealt with last week's massacre in Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue.

Speaking with Dr. Joe Frager at the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Queens, Rabbi Shonfeld said that "I think the Orthodox community, at least in the United States, the Orthodox community can be very proud of itself to the way it reacted to the tragedy in Pittsburgh".

"It was grief, and empathy, and sympathy, and unadulterated by politics or any other outside agendas" continued Rabbi Shonfeld. "It was across the board- the hassidic crowd, the Lithuanian crowd, the Modern [Orthodox] crowd. the Sephardic crowd- there were one or two exceptions and they were roundly condemned for anything they made that was outside this expression of grief."

"It's something that really does resonate."

Rabbi Schonfeld criticized those he said "had to inject all kinds of nonsensical and reprehensible politics".

"I'm very proud of the Orthodox community and other communities as well but I'm an Orthodox rabbi and I'm speaking for them....We can be together, Jews of all different stripes. It's too bad that it took a tragedy to bring us together but here we see that it can be done. Let's hope that we can do it for peaceful purposes as well."

The rabbi also used the moment to recall President Trump's daughter Ivanka's visit to the Lubavitcher Rebbe's grave on the Saturday night preceding the 2016 election. "Ivanka came to the [grave] and I said to my kids, who are even further away from Lubavitch than I am-I said 'you know what? I think Trump is going to have it made'" he recounted.

"Something happens at this [grave]- you just watch, and it did. Something highly unusual, something turned the world on its head in the 2016 election."