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Press Conference Statement

Press Conference, Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Statement of Dr. Jordan Golin, President & CEO, Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS)

Our hearts are broken.

Our community was targeted and will be forever changed by the events on Saturday. We mourn the victims of the tragedy in our community. We also pray for healing for those who were injured and for all those among us whose pain is beyond measure.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the congregations of Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash, and New Light and all those affected by this senseless act of violence. We pray for the wounded and for the families and friends of those murdered in this attack.

Jewish Family and Community Services, JFCS, is a nonprofit organization that has been serving the greater Pittsburgh region for the past 81 years. From mental health services to refugee resettlement, from supports for seniors to employment services, our mission is to help all members of our region as they struggle with various life challenges and assist them on their journey to recovery and self-sufficiency.

We are proud of the response by the entire Pittsburgh Jewish Community – and the greater Pittsburgh community – to unite and provide critical support. And we pray that our community can find healing.

The various Pittsburgh Jewish organizations, under the leadership of the Jewish Federation, have divided up aspects of the community recovery process. JFCS is taking the lead on the mental health response.

We know that the journey from tragedy to recovery is a process that will take years and that it will affect not only the survivors of the attack, and the loved ones of those killed in the attack, but all members of the community to varying degrees.

JFCS has been consulting with trauma recovery experts, including the Israel Trauma Coalition, to put together a plan to provide emotional and therapeutic support. Here is what we have done so far.

• To support the children, we have mental health clinicians in each of the Jewish day schools and in the JCC’s preschool to support the teachers and staff.
• To support the parents of the children, and to support the teens in the community, we will be having a program Thursday evening to provide guidance and support in helping our young people process and manage this horrible tragedy.
• To support adults, we have established drop-in hours at the JCC, from 9 am to 9 pm, for any member of the community to come and speak with trained clinicians about the concerns that they might have
• To support individuals with longer term needs, we have therapists available for formal psychotherapy services.
• To support people at all hours, we have partnered with Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, who is staffing a warmline for anyone to call who needs to talk during the day or at night.
• To support the survivors of the attack, and the families of the deceased, and First Responders, we will be offering to each individual or family a dedicated clinician who will be available not only in the days ahead but also in the weeks and months to come.

And I just want to add how incredible all of our community partners have been throughout this process. The JCC has opened up its space as a community hub. The Jewish Federation has demonstrated outstanding leadership in managing this tragedy. And the response from our city and county government has been unbelievably supportive and inspirational. And I can’t even list all of the organizations that have been stellar in assisting with this, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, local businesses that have contributed food and other donations. And I certainly can’t express enough my admiration and gratitude to the police officers and FBI.