Another act of violence left the country heartbroken and the Jewish community throughout America reeling.
Eleven worshipers were killed by a gunman during a Saturday morning Shabbat service Oct. 27 at the Tree of Life Synagogue, with seven more injured, including the suspected perpetrator. The synagogue is located in the historical Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The accused gunman, who is facing 44 counts of murder, hate crimes and other charges has pled not guilty and requested a jury trial.
In wake of the attack, the Hillel House of Toledo has tried to open their arms to members of the entire Toledo community.
Hillel immediately released a statement saying, “The entire Hillel movement is in mourning as we reflect on the abhorrent murder of Jews who had come together to worship in Pittsburgh. This is an attack on our entire community, and we are committed to keeping the memories of those who were killed alive in our hearts.”
Other Jewish communities across the country have vehemently denounced the act of terror, joining together in solidarity, including the Anti-Defamation League, which fights to combat anti-Semitism.
The Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt responded to the attack, calling it a hate crime and writing, “Our hearts break for the families of those killed and injured at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and for the entire Jewish community of Pittsburgh. We believe this is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.”
Hillel said, in the aftermath of the tragedy, they will focus on being a strong support system for all grieving students.
With a mission to, “enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world,” Toledo Hillel has been bringing together Greater Toledo’s Jewish Community for nearly a century.
“Hillel’s network of dedicated student leaders, professionals and volunteers have encouraged generations of young adults to celebrate Jewish learning and living, pursue social justice and connect to their peers and the global Jewish people,” Director of the Hillel House Elizabeth Lane said.
She added that Hillel’s greatest priority is the safety of their students, professionals and community members.
“We believe that the best way to combat anti-Semitism on campus is to build strong, engaging Jewish communities,” Lane said. “We work closely with university administrators, student life officials and our religious community partners to ensure the Jewish community is actively engaged and welcome on campus.”
The organization holds weekly Shabbat services and dinners at the Hillel House, located down the street from UT’s main campus. The group also frequently holds other activities to engage and unite the Jewish community.