Students at HANC reflect on the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh

MSH Stands With Pittsburgh

The entire Jewish world was shocked and horrified by the brutal anti-Semitic attack that took place in Pittsburgh this past Shabbat. Eleven people were murdered and six others were injured in the attack, which some are calling the worst antisemitic attack in American history. Among those murdered were elderly Jews who were stalwarts of the Tree of Life Congregation and the Pittsburgh Jewish community.

Menahelet Esther Eisenman and senior Nava Yastrab read biographies of the victims during the memorial service.

This was an attack on all Jews, and Pittsburgh was simply the convenient venue for this antisemite to express his venom. After hearing insights on the significance of the attack from Rosh HaYeshiva Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman, students read the names and short biographies of each of the victims.

In an effort to do whatever is possible to provide sympathy, condolences, and support to the Jews of Squirrel Hill, as well as the direct victims of the attack, the students were given the opportunity to write letters to be sent to the families and community. The school created a video to express the sense of “Acheinu Kol Beit Yisrael.” They included thoughts from students, faculty, and administration. It is the girls’ hope that although they cannot be there to offer support in person, their emotions will be conveyed in their words.

Here are some of the thoughts the students expressed to their fellow Jews in Pittsburgh.

MSH students writing letters of consolation to the Pittsburgh community.

“Today I am reminded how big my family is…”

“To the Tree of Life community, though no words are sufficient to ease your pain and bring an end to your sorrow, I write to express my condolences for your losses. Today in school, we conducted an assembly in memory of those whose lives were cruelly cut short.”

“When the girls at my school stood up and read the biographies of each individual that died, it made it so much more real, so much more personal. The rest of MSH and I are crying with you.”

“When I heard about each of these 11 individuals, I cried. Seeing what each person brought to this world, not just their community, but the world as a whole. We have lost 11 bright lights, which we can never replace.”

“Any words I say, any condolences I send, will never amount to how I truly feel. They will never add up to how sad, and scared, and angry I am. All I can say is I will pray. I am with you in pain. The entire Jewish community is with you.”

“I want you to know that my heart, as well as the hearts of all the Jewish people, is with you during this time. All I can offer is my sympathy and love. Just know, you are not alone. The victims will be missed. I grieve for them, though I do not know them.”

HANC HS Students Reflect On Pittsburgh Tragedy

On Monday morning, October 29, HANC High School students gathered together to mourn and reflect as a community upon the horrific and senseless antisemitic attack that occurred in Pittsburgh over Shabbat.

The assembly included powerful remarks from Rabbi Tsvi Selengut on the Torah perspective on tragedy. Rabbi Selengut emphasized the importance of being proud to be a Jew and that by doing mitzvot we give back to our community. In subsequent weeks, students will be participating in activities to memorialize the victims.

Faculty and students then joined in unison with a communal recitation of Tehillim before 11 memorial candles were lit. Upon the completion of Tehillim, everyone sang Acheinu Kol Beit Yisrael, a beautiful supplication to Hashem to show mercy to His people during times of distress. Students came away with a sense of unity and responsibility to each other.

May we be blessed with peace for our people and our community, and may the families of all those who perished be comforted among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim

Mourning Pittsburgh Victims at Rambam

After the tragic massacre of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue, Rambam’s Rosh Mesivta Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman, delivered a strong message to his students. Rabbi Friedman spoke about the horrific events and made it clear that the shooter was no different than the Nazis, Hamas, Hezbollah, or Iran in his desire to kill any and all Jews.

Rabbi Friedman shared that the fact that the synagogue was Conservative made no difference to the shooter nor should it make any difference to the students at Rambam. “He did not shoot because their mechitzah wasn’t high enough or because they might have missed zman Kriyas Shema. He went there because they were Jews. Period. End of story. That’s all that matters, and it is horrific.”

Rabbi Friedman then outlined the school’s plan in response to the tragedy. The school’s chesed committee would raise funds in memory of those who were murdered and an ad would be placed in the local Pittsburgh newspaper expressing sympathy condolences and solidarity with the Pittsburgh community.

The point about being extra-vigilant and adhering to the directions of Rambam’s security team was also reinforced.

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