Seton Hill community gathers to remember Tree of Life synagogue shooting victims

11 candles were lit during the memorial service at Seton Hill University on Oct. 30 for the 11 victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. Photo by H.Carnahan/Setonian.

Seton Hill University held a memorial service on Tuesday, Oct. 30 in remembrance of the 11 lives lost in the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pa. last Saturday. The university cancelled class during the time of the service to give all students and faculty the opportunity to attend.

“We can, as we do today, gather to remember the victims and stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters against anti-Semitism, violence and racism,” said SHU President Mary Finger during her opening remarks. “We educate using all the tenants of Catholic Social Teaching and we strongly stand for the oppressed and against violence and hatred.”

Multiple prayers were recited throughout the service, including the Kaddish, a prayer recited for the dead, and the Mi Shebeirach, a prayer recited for the injured.

“Let us resolve to take the responsibility, to be kind, to speak kindly, to be the good neighbor,” said Rabbi Sara Perman in her reflection. “Let us be among those who work to remove hate from our midst so there will be a time where we will not think of or pained of the diameter of a bomb or a bullet, but be embraced by a circle of caring, of friendship and of love.”

The names of the 11 people who died in the shooting were read by David Stanger, associate professor of art at SHU. Members of the choral ensembles at SHU performed songs throughout the service, including Barechu, the Hebrew call to prayer.

“This truly is Seton Hill at its best, and this is how we come together in times such as these,” said Sister Maureen O’Brien, director of campus ministry, during her closing remarks. “We assure the many members of the Jewish community who have joined us today, you are in our thoughts, you are in our prayers and you are in our good works as we continue.”

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