Victims from Jeffersontown, Pittsburgh remembered with vigil


The Butler community gathered on Oct. 29 at Star Fountain to hold a vigil organized by Butler Hillel to remember victims of hate from recent tragedies across the United States.

The vigil was a response to recent events in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Two people lost their lives at a grocery store in the Jeffersontown shooting, and 11 people lost their lives in Pittsburgh. Both shootings have been classified as hate crimes.

Hillel International gives students opportunities to learn about and participate in the Jewish culture. The Butler chapter of Hillel planned the vigil to grieve and remember the lives taken in the two recent shootings and to start a conversation about the hatred that results in deadly violence.

“[We must] continue to find ways to speak out against causeless hatred — hatred against not just Jews but all groups of people, and also to continue to show that our community is more than that,” said Dori Chandler, coordinator of Jewish life and interfaith programming at Butler. “It’s people coming together in love and solidarity.”

Around 50 to 60 members of the Butler community were present. Attendees included President Danko, Student Government Association president Sam Varie, vice president of student affairs Frank Ross and dean of students Sally Click.

Community members gathered around Star Fountain to honor those who have lost their lives to violence by lighting candles, listening to speakers and praying together. The words of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov were spoken, then repeated in song: “The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the main thing to recall is to have no fear.”

“It was a lot like a normal synagogue service, but honestly that just makes you reflect on different communities coming together to fight against hate,” said Zoey Law, a junior and member of Hillel. “It wasn’t just the Jewish community that was affected by this, it was the whole Butler community.”

Khayleia Foy, president of the Black Student Union, was asked by Hillel to speak at the vigil. She said it is important to show solidarity and connection in the midst of hate and tragedy. She said wants the Butler community to acknowledge these issues when they arise and not let them go by the wayside.

“I certainly get chills when I hear about these things on the news, and it happens all the time,” Foy said. “Having Butler do this, that helps a lot of people.”


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