PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was a crowd that swelled to more than 800 as Duquesne University hosted an Interfaith Prayer Service for the victims and survivors of the Squirrel Hill synagogue shootings.
People of all races, religions, ages and backgrounds filled the Student Union ballroom. Many have ties to Tree of Life Synagogue, or knew the victims.
Professor Seth Oranburg told KDKA’s Kym Gable, “Here, we had an entire assembly, more than 800 people here to celebrate their lives and take part in keeping their memory alive and fresh, and bringing them at a higher spiritual place by doing good deeds in their honor.”
The names of the 11 victims were read, bringing many to tears. At the conclusion of the service, the attendees placed pebbles around 11 candles that will remain burning as symbols of a collective bond and a pledge to preserve their legacies with goodness over hate.
The university’s Jewish Student Organization helped organize the vigil.
David DeFelice heads up that organization.
“I think when we come together as a community, we’re able to look at ourselves individually and look at what we can do as a group when we come together, so we’re able to conquer things like anti-Semitism and prejudice,” he said.