At Common Hour on Tuesday, Oct. 30, about 30 students, faculty, staff and Gambier residents met in a circle in front of Rosse Hall to say Kaddish for the victims of the anti-Semitic shooting that took place last Saturday in Pittsburgh.
The service, led by Jewish Chaplain and Director of Hillel Marc Bragin, included a reading of Israeli poet Zelda Mishkovsky’s “Each of Us Has a Name,” followed by the names of the victims, and ended with the Kaddish prayer.
“By gathering today during Common Hour, by standing together in a circle, we can face each other,” Bragin said at the event. “And we know that among all of this hate and all of this violence, there’s still love.”
He pointed out that the Kaddish helps emphasize that the killing in Pittsburgh affects everyone.
President Sean Decatur said that the tragedy in Pittsburgh should serve as a reminder that anti-Semitism is “something that we need to be able to talk about, to address, to challenge when we see evidence of [it] around us.”
He remarked that a lot of people have been calling for civility in the wake of the attack but he believes the answer goes deeper than just civility.
“That notion of what is good and what is decent is the thing that I think really matters,” Decatur said.
In “Standing for Decency,” a blog post published on the Kenyon website on Oct. 30, Decatur repeated these thoughts and called attention to the ways the College is responding to the shooting. In addition to the Kaddish and vigil, Shabbat services are scheduled for Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Rothenberg Hillel House.
In addition, the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life sent out an email on Monday to remind students of the chaplains’ availability: Marc Bragin’s office hours are Mondays and Tuesdays 2 to 4 p.m. in Hillel House. Rachel Kessler’s are Mondays 10 to 11 a.m. in the basement of the Church of the Holy Spirit and Wednesdays and Thursdays 2 to 4 p.m. in Parish House at 201 Brooklyn Street.
Friday’s Shabbat will feature readings and a discussion on how to respond to national tragedies and anti-Semitism as a community. President Decatur said that the College’s response is a light in the darkness of the events in Pittsburgh.
“An event like this … reminds us of how much good people really do love each other, care for each other and come together in times of crisis,” he said, adding that people need to live this way not only in response to tragedy but also on a daily basis.