New Jersey Orthodox Rabbi Mordechai Aderet publicly advised his followers not to attend a vigil for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting because the Jews were murdered during a bris for twins adopted by gay parents.
"Somebody came over to me and told me today that he got an email that people should go gather someplace here in town to give the Shema for those 11 people who got killed," the rabbi said in a video that has amassed 10,000 views. "And I still said, I heard it's a Conservative shul, I heard people drove on Shabbat, and I don't think people should join these things."
After remarking that Tree of Life was less strict than the sect of Judaism he adheres to, he went on to say his congregants should not attend the vigil because the local synagogue holding it had held a similar memorial for those murdered in the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub, which he said was "for men to men."
"That's the same people that invited the people two years ago to say Tehillim for those lowlives," Aderet asserted , referring to Pulse victims, whom he called "those sinners, trash."
Tehillim is the Hebrew word for the Book of Psalms, which contains some of the most widely recognized phrases from the Torah.
"That's reason enough not to join these people," said the rabbi.
He then referenced an article published in The Advocate on a report from the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, a local LGBTQ group, that the synagogue shooting occurred during a bris or brit milah – a Jewish circumcision ceremony – for a gay couple's twins.
"Do you know what it says on the whole internet, it's called Advocate.com ... you know about who were the parents?" Aderet bellowed. "Hashem said it to me. Two men. This is a brit milah in a Conservative shul and the two men adopted the boy and did the brit milah, and you wonder why there was a massacre?"
He went on to link the violence in Pittsburgh to the shooting in Florida, mistaking the city of Orlando, where Pulse is located, for Miami.
"I'm not sorry for this disaster," he declared. "You attend a brit milah of two men?"
He concluded that those who attended a vigil for the murdered Jews were "spitting in Hashem's face," using a Jewish term for God.
This is not the first time Aderet has made controversial remarks. In 2010, he made headlines when he crashed a birthday party held by Persian Jews on New York's Long Island and told guests that if they stayed they would be cursed with “illness, bankruptcy, and tragedy for eternity."
Partygoers believe the incident happened because Aderet was unhappy with the neighborhood becoming increasingly secular, according to The New York Jewish Week.
Rabbi Aderet, who is said to have a large following, offers lectures on TorahAnytime.com.