More than 150 people gathered in Kogan Plaza at noon Monday for a vigil honoring the victims of a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday.
The event, a community gathering and moment of silence for the victims, was organized by GW Hillel to stand in solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish community. On Saturday morning, an armed man entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and killed 11 people. Two more worshippers and four policemen who responded to the shooting were injured, USA Today reported.
Representatives from GW Hillel and students took turns speaking about the impact of the tragedy and offered words of comfort. Rabbi Daniel Novick, the assistant director of GW Hillel, urged the community to seek solace in one another as “we continue to process” the weekend’s events.
“We gather here today to mourn together, to cry together, to be sad, to be angry, to become people who love peace and actively pursue peace, so that the next time we gather as a community, we celebrate a world free from hate, a world of peace and a world of justice,” Novick said.
Rabbi Daniel Epstein, the senior Jewish educator at GW Hillel, read the Mourner’s Kaddish, a traditional Jewish prayer said on the behalf of the deceased. Epstein also read the names of each victim aloud, and a moment of silence was held for each person.
“In times of tragedy like this, it’s really important to come together and unite,” freshman Shir Levy said.
Freshman Sam Blake said that in the wake of anti-Semitic violence, students should band together in solidarity.
“The best thing we can do is try and overcome the violence that has been directed towards us and realize community is stronger than hate,” he said.
University President Thomas LeBlanc also issued a statement Monday condemning the attack and offering support to students, faculty and staff in the wake of the shooting.
Dante Schultz contributed reporting.