Staying Connected to Our Humanity in the Face of Evil

Dear Members of the Drexel Community:

Our connections to each other are never more important than when tragedy strikes, as it did on Saturday with a gunman’s deadly assault on the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California.

Today, as members of a world community and as individuals, we are all mourning. We mourn another life lost, further injury, and yet another invasion of a sacred place. And we grieve the tearing of the fabric of society — especially the hateful persistence of antisemitism.

But when the connections are direct to the Drexel community, our sense of anguish is even greater. And that is the case with the attack on the Chabad of Poway.

I am deeply saddened that the family of Rabbi Chaim Goldstein and his wife, Moussia, of the Chabad Serving Drexel, were directly impacted by the San Diego tragedy. Their uncle, the Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, was shot in the hand. And their brother-in-law, Rabbi Mendy Goldstein, was in the synagogue when the armed attacker arrived. I share the sentiment of Rabbi Chaim, who writes that he and his wife are “heartbroken and pained by the attack, and devastated upon the cold-blooded murder” of a congregant who was a friend of the Goldstein family.

So, yes, this time, it’s personal. But at moments like this, we need to turn away from any anger that might arise — and we need to support one another. It is only by reaffirming our connection as caring individuals that we can salve the pain, set an example of peace, and hope to see a better world emerge.

As always, we stand ready to assist Drexel students in any way possible. Our Counseling Center is available to all students at any time and for any reason, including those seeking support after this tragedy. Drexel's Office of Spiritual and Religious Life is also standing by for all members of the University community — contact information is available on the Student Life website. Rabbi Chaim also invites visitors to the Chabad House, which is open for anyone wishing to talk or just share a moment of silence, as is the Perelman Center for Jewish Life at Drexel University. Chabad Serving Drexel details are available on their website.

Going forward, we need to continue to live out our values of caring, acceptance and inclusivity. That will enable us to recover as a community, stronger in its connections to our humanity.


John Fry

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