October 2018 – Through music, silence, prayer and ritual, Drew University students, faculty and staffers mourned the shooting deaths of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“Our hearts are sore and aching with sorrow,” said Rabbi in Residence Debra Smith, speaking during a service and vigil. “May this terrible tragedy bring out only our highest selves, strengthening our bonds of love and friendship, bringing to the fore all our goodness, love and caring. May the source of compassion, love and hope be with us, hold us and strengthen our resolve.”
The Drew community gathered at Craig Chapel to sing and pray and then processed outside to place symbolic stones around a tree and light candles. Two students also led a group reading of Robert F. Kennedy’s “Prayer for Our Country.”
The service and vigil, which was led by Smith, Director of Craig Chapel Mark Miller, Hillel Director Sharyn Cohen Colon and University Chaplain Taylor Bean, was the first of two campus gatherings dedicated to the shooting victims. The next is a Shabbat dinner (Nov. 16 at Seminary Hall), at which students will discuss hatred and bigotry in America.