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“Saturday morning in Squirrel Hill has for more than 100 years meant certain familiar rituals. The handing out of prayer books as latecomers quietly arrive at temple, the genial shouts of ‘Shabbat shalom’ across neighborhood streets as friends spot old friends after services.
This is the heart of Jewish Pittsburgh, one of the most deeply rooted Jewish neighborhoods in America. And on this Saturday morning, it was the site of what one of the city’s chief federal law enforcement officers called “the most horrific crime scene I have seen.””
“Matthew Shepard was finally laid to rest Friday at the Washington National Cathedral 20 years after being killed by two men because he was gay.”
“Wednesday, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans, seemingly at random, at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a black church.
After mail bombs were being sent to people who’d been criticized by the President, a suspect was arrested Friday — a man who had railed against Democrats and minorities with hate-filled messages online.
And Saturday morning, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services.
Those three incidents in 72 hours shared one thing: hate.”
On yesterday’s tragedy in Pittsburgh
Dear Columbia Community,
We are deeply saddened by the senseless violence at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday morning. Violence in our nation’s houses of worship is an affront to the freedoms our community holds dear. We stand strongly against these efforts to create fear and terror.
For some in our community, this is a particularly frightening time as we have seen a growing number of highly visible attacks directed at faith and identity – on worshippers and people of faith as they go through their daily lives, on groups gathered to celebrate an LGBT Latin night at Pulse Nightclub, on civil rights and anti-racist protesters in the streets of Charlottesville, and in so many other places, as occurred in last Wednesday’s shooting of two African-American shoppers in Kentucky. Please know that you are not alone, and that you are a part of this community founded on the fundamental dignity and worth of all.
If you would like to be with others during this difficult time, please join us for reflection spaces in the coming week:
Tonight: There will be a Vigil & Memorial at the Kraft Center, 8 – 10 pm. All in the Columbia community are welcome. More information here: https://columbiabarnardhillel.org/event/pittsburgh-vigil/Kraft Center.
For other gatherings and spaces to reflect, please check University Life’s app, website, and social media.
We also want to remind you of supportive resources for all students on campus:
Students on the Morningside campus who would like with a counselor can call Counseling and Psychological Services at (212) 854-2878.
For students on the CUIMC campus, call Mental Health Services at (212) 305-3400.
Students on the Morningside campus can find additional support from Columbia Health through http://health.columbia.edu.
CUIMC students can contact Student Health Service at http://cumc.columbia.edu/student-health.
Office of the University Chaplain – Please find more information here: http://ouc.columbia.edu/ouc-chaplain-and-staff/
If you have safety concerns, you can always contact Public Safety at:
· 212-854-5555 (Morningside)
· 212-305-7979 (Columbia University Medical Center)
· 212-853-3333 (Manhattanville)
or learn more here.
Any students in need of assistance in the coming days can contact their dean of students, any of the above resources, or the Office of University Life (email@example.com) without hesitation.
Suzanne B. Goldberg
Executive Vice President for University Life
Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law
“More than 70 percent of Americans identify as Christian, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to them. An overwhelming majority of people say that they don’t feel comfortable speaking about faith, most of the times.”