Community Responds to Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

It was just another Saturday for many at Northwood this past weekend.  Some took the ACT while others slept in or got up and had breakfast. Some were in the Boston area for a big hockey tournament, and others were gearing up for another weekend of exciting Black Rock FC soccer matches.

But for members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, October 27 was hell. Robert Bowers entered the synagogue that morning with an AR-15 style assault rifle and used it to kill eleven people during Shabbat morning services. Seven more people were injured. According to news reports, Bowers shouted “All Jews must die!” before opening fire for twenty minutes. His social media accounts contained numerous anti-semitic statements.

In response to this tragedy, I set out to understand Northwood’s students’ thoughts, feelings, and opinions on the event. Star Northwood hockey player Aleksei Rutkowski 19’ and Herschel Conard 21’, one of Northwood’s Jewish students, shared their thoughts.

“I didn’t hear about the shooting until [a few days after],” said Rutkowski. “The news was very sad though.”

“I realized that it could have been anybody or any synagogue,” said Conrad. “That came with realizing that it could be people I know.”

When asked what we as a country should do to help stop gun violence, Rutkowski said, “even though the gun business is has a big market in the United States, I believe that there should first be testing to receive licenses.”

Conrad said that he believes that the legal age for buying a gun of any kind should be 21 in all states and that we need to stop normalizing the use of deadly weapons as recreation.

Reflecting on the victims and their families, Conrad said, “religion is not a reason for such amazing people to have their lives taken from them. They shouldn’t blame themselves for something that they had no control over.”

No matter your viewpoint or what you believe can be done to end gun violence, one thing is for sure: this sort of story affects everyone. We need to stand up against gun violence and bigotry and be the change that we wish to see in the world.

Open Service at the Lake Placid Synagogue on Friday

Readers who would like to honor the victims of the shooting and show their support for Lake Placid’s Jewish community are encouraged to attend the open service at the Lake Placid Synagogue on Friday, November 9 at 7:30 pm. People of all religious faiths will attend, including many Northwood School students, faculty and staff. Buses will leave from the main entrance beginning at 7:10 pm. Students should sign up in the “freshman lounge.”

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