Members of the Villanova Community gathered at the Oreo on Tuesday October 30th to stand in solidarity with the lives lost after the tragic act of hatred that occurred in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday October 27th.
The vigil on Villanova’s campus reflected a University commitment of rejecting hatred in any form and fostering love for all members of the religious community. The interfaith vigil, hosted by Peace and Justice, brought together the Villanova community to grieve the lives lost and reflect on our roles as individuals fighting hate.
Villanova’s response to the horrible tragedy of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting mirrored the efforts of other Jewish organizations and places of worship in Philadelphia. The Vigil hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia gathered in the spirit of solidarity and hope in an effort to reject anti-Semitism in the United States.
The NY Times cited the growth of anti-Semitism in the two years since the 2016 election, including the increased visibility of hate including the Charlottesville white supremacist rally in 2017. The disheartening visibility of hate, within the past few years especially, reflects a dark reality.
As a community, it is important to take time to grieve for lives lost due to senseless violence. However, we cannot allow our communities to forget that we have the ability to fight against hate. While standing in solidarity which each other and our Jewish classmates/neighbors/community members is essential to healing, it cannot be the only way we respond to this tragic event. We must actively reject hatred and support inclusion. Villanova took the first step to engage the campus after this tragedy. It is up to us to make sure tragedies like this do not happen again.