11 seats set for the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue massacre

Campus gathering mourns victims of synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh

Nov. 6, 2018 11:50 a.m.

Eleven candles flicker on stage at McCosh 50 lecture hall Monday evening as students, faculty and staff held a vigil to mourn the 11 people killed in the Oct. 27 shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff gathered in the McCosh 50 lecture hall Monday evening to honor the memory of those killed in the Oct. 27 attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The Center for Jewish Life sponsored the vigil, which was timed to follow the return of students to campus after fall break.

Rabbi Julie Roth addresses people at vigil for Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue massacre victims

Rabbi Julie Roth, executive director of the Center for Jewish Life, speaks at the vigil.

Rabbi Julie Roth, CJL’s executive director and a Jewish chaplain at the University, welcomed the audience to the lecture hall, which was packed with people who had come through the rain from across campus. Vigil participants placed electric votive candles on the tops of the desks in the room.

“This is an incredible show of solidarity for peace and against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate,” said W. Rochelle Calhoun, the University’s vice president for campus life. “Even when things seem the darkest, the Princeton community will shine the light of hope and love and unity.”

Other speakers included Dean of the College Jill Dolan and Isabel Segal of the Class of 2022, who both grew up in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood near the synagogue where the shootings took place; Rabbi Eitan Webb, director of Chabad House and a Jewish chaplain; and Rabbi Ira Dounn, senior Jewish educator at CJL. Several other University administrators gave brief reflections.

Students sat in a circle on stage and read brief biographies of the 11 people killed in Pittsburgh.

Koleinu, the University’s Jewish a cappella group, led the singing of the Mourner’s Kaddish and finished the program with a rendition of the song This Little Light of Mine.

Audience at the vigil for the victims of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue massacre

Professor of Mathematics Peter Ozsvath performs Etz Chayim Hi (It Is a Tree of Life) on the cello before the start of the vigil in room 50 at McCosh Hall.