Dear Parents, Alumni, and the Denver/Boulder Community:
Our Yeshiva Toras Chaim community continues to be profoundly and deeply pained by the unspeakable events that transpired this past Tuesday evening (8/17, Ed.), claiming the life of our dear and beloved, Shmuel (Shmuli) Silverberg z”l. While we remain in a state of shock, there is much to do and much for which we must be grateful, Baruch Hashem. We are supremely thankful for the tireless work of the local, state, and Federal law enforcement authorities that moved swiftly to identify and arrest four suspects in the case. We are particularly indebted to Chief Paul Pazen for his leadership and commitment to making the security, community well-being, and the safety of Toras Chaim a top priority. We also want to extend our deep gratitude to our local Jewish Federation, JEWISHcolorado, Secure Community Network, Chai Lifeline, Dr. Fox, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Rose Community Foundation for activating immediately to provide all the support we need to cope with this crisis. In this time of sorrow, our thoughts are with all the others that were caught in the string of events that took place on Tuesday night.
As the Denver Police Department reported at a news conference yesterday, it appears that Shmuli was caught in a random string of horrific violence. The attack began outside the Yeshiva, and ended with the death of Shmuli inside the first set of doors at our Kitchen entrance. Though vicious and tragic, it is our belief at this current time that this was not a targeted hate crime motivated by anti-Semitism. However, if evidence is discovered that it was, the Denver Police Department said it would work with the Denver District Attorney’s Office to add any appropriate charges.
There are many conflicting stories and rumors as to what unfolded at the Yeshiva that night. Untruths are being amplified on social media and are causing unnecessary and additional pain for all those involved which adds to our pain. The Yeshiva’s foremost priority is to protect the Silverberg family from any more pain and to get the Bochurim and staff the professional counseling help and support that they need. To this end, the Yeshiva is connecting with mental health professionals and services to engage the resources we need to help Yeshiva Toras Chaim in the healing process. At the same time, we are working closely with security experts to enhance our security systems and protocols to ensure that the safety of our Yeshiva is best in-class.
We are humbled and supremely grateful for the outpouring of support from our Alumni, friends and broader community. We are inspired by all of you and by our students. We will continue to keep you apprised of developments.
During these days of Elul, may the Almighty comfort our Yeshiva and our Community as we move forward with resolve.
Rabbi Aaron Boruch Kagan
Rabbi Naftali Seidenfeld
Rabbi Ahron Yisroel Wasserman