Students from Hillel at Temple University and Chabad at Temple University will host a vigil at the Bell Tower on Tuesday at 5 p.m., to honor the lives of 11 congregants from the Tree of Life Congregation, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, who were killed by a gunman shouting anti-Semitic slurs on Saturday.
“Ultimately, the antidote, the only way to fight hatred is, with love,” said Rabbi Baruch Kantor, director of Chabad at Temple University. “In addition to awareness and love, it’s important that people are aware that anti-Semitism is a thing and has been a thing long before the current political cycle.”
The worshippers who were killed on Saturday include Bernice and Sylvan Simon, David and Cecil Rosenthal, Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Daniel Stein, Irving Younger and Melvin Wax, who was leading the Shabbat services, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
This was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in United States history.
The congregants were attending Shabbat services, a day of rest in the Jewish faith, when the gunman entered the synagogue with multiple firearms and started shooting at the congregants. The gunman was charged with 11 counts of criminal homicide and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation, and prosecutors are intending to impose the death penalty.
More than 100 people from the Temple community plan to attend Tuesday’s vigil, according to the event’s Facebook page.
On Tuesday morning, Englert sent an email to the Temple community addressing the shooting at the Tree of Life.
“Although there is geographical distance between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, at this moment we are one people, united by grief,” Englert wrote. “I know I speak for everyone in the Temple community when I extend our deepest sympathies to the families, friends and fellow worshipers at the Tree of Life, as well as the entire Pittsburgh community.”
Englert added that the university condemns all acts of violence, anti-Semitism and racism. He also encouraged affected students to access resources as need be, like Tuttleman Counseling Services. Students and staff in Hillel at Temple University and Chabad at Temple University were offered specific support services, beginning this weekend, he added.
Henry Savage contributed reporting.