UNF Jewish community comes together for Pittsburgh

Heydi Ortiz

Grief, sadness and prayers were expressed Saturday evening as the Jewish Ospreys united to pay their respects to the eleven congregants who lost their lives in Pittsburgh to yet another mass shooting.

“Throughout the ages, Jews have responded to hardship and tragedy by filling the darkness with the light of goodness, kindness and love,” Rabbi Shmuli Novack, spiritual leader of the Southside Jewish community, said.

The vigil started by lighting eleven candles, to signify the lives that were lost,  followed by the lighting of many other candles. As the sun went down, speakers of the Jewish community and other religious campus ministers went up to express emotional support as others stood by, listened and mourned.

UNF works to make sure that students can practice religion freely as well as openly while educating and providing a safe environment for the students.

“The Interfaith Center exists to bring around connections between people of different faiths in the hopes of bringing about a more peaceful world and so that we can create bonds of friendship that will go beyond this campus and that will bring light where there is darkness,” Associate Director of the Interfaith Center Matt Harley said.

Vice President of Jewish Ospreys, Sarah Freedman shared a few brief remarks.

“This tragedy happened far away from Jacksonville. It feels close in our hearts as if it’s our own community and I think it’s important that we remain strong and hold each other tight because it could’ve just as easily been our own community.”

Promoting mitzvahs and good deeds out of the tragedy was a goal for the group. Mitzvah4Pittsburgh.com was launched to help show support for the Jewish community. The website allows you to choose a good deed in order to add light to the world.

“They were murdered by hatred, they will be remembered with love,” Novack said.

Photos by Khorri Newton

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