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Monday, November 28, 2022 - 4 Kislev 5783
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Over 200 Attend Candle Light Vigil on College Ave
Over 175 Rutgers students and 25 area community members attended the Emergency Candle Light Vigil on the Front Steps of Chabad House on Rutgers University's College Ave on Tuesday night - the very same day of the brutal massacre that took place in HarNof, Jerusalem. The event was co-sponsored by Rutgers Chabad, Rutgers Hillel and the Brotherhood of Rutgers AEPi Fraternity, and allowed students to express their anguish and mourn the horrible loss of fellow Jews in Israel. 

The 5 victims were:  Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Dean of Torat Moshe Yeshiva and grandson of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik; Rabbi Kalman Levine; Aryeh Kupinsky, Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, and a 27 year old Israeli Police officer, Zidan Saif.

Among the student leaders who spoke, Sam Seelenfreund, President of Rutgers AEPi, addressed the crowd who withstood the sub-freezing temperature, and said "As it is widely known, a little light dispels much darkness. Tonight we hold a candle to symbolically re-dedicate ourselves to lighting up the darkness with the light of our extra mitzvahs, adding to the amount of charity we give to those less fortunate, and performing additional random deeds of loving kindness, effectively pushing away the darkness. Light your candles people - every precious minute you’re alive, and light up the world!"

Chapters of Tehillim from King David’s Psalms were read in the Shul organized by student activist Estie Mellul, and then said publicly in English and Hebrew by Rutgers students Mitch Seigel and Isaac Sasson, followed by a mishebeirach prayer for a speedy recovery led by Max Sarasohn, for those critically injured during the attack, along with heartfelt remarks and memorials by Jackie Roberman and Josh Herzfeld. The Keil Malech Rachamim prayer for the departed kedoshim (victims) was then recited by Rabbis Adam Frieberg of Rutgers Hillel and Rabbi Baruch Goodman of Rutgers Chabad. Student leader Brandon Linde was master of ceremonies and kept the program running quickly and smoothly despite the freezing cold night temperature.

Rabbi Goodman spoke how although the event was taking place on the streets of Rutgers, “Tonight’s Candle Light Vigil is not a public event - it’s a gathering to give voice and share our raw pain over the horrific massacre that took place in this morning in Jerusalem Israel, and terrorist attacks recently where innocent people, peaceful people, loving people, respectful people were targeted for being Jewish and brutally murdered.

“We had hoped that you would only see positive things this new year, and meet only kind and like-minded peaceful loving people. But alas, our reality, at the moment at least until Moshiach comes, is that we are forced to face and suffer the pains of exile, the horrors of hate,  and the terror of arrogant and self-serving people.

“Those who we mourn tonight, those families in Israel and in America who we mourn WITH tonight, are what we call KEDOSHIM – holy ones, wonderful righteous people who lived their lives to reveal the goodness and kindness that G-d made the world for. Tonight we mourn, and withstand the birthpangs of Moshiach together. For we are one and will always be. Am Yisrael Chai.”

Student activist Sharell Barsheshet spoke once the crowd returned inside to enjoy some hot food and drink, saying “what’s most important is that we come together, and commit to doing something special in the memory of those who were murdered by those evil people…pray more, wrap the Tefillin, say the Shema Yisrael before going to sleep, light a Shabbat candle, regardless of how religious or not you may be - do it all as members of the great Jewish nation we are.”

Student activist Jocelyn Herman posted via facebook along with her posted photo of the candle lit vigil, “Today we come together, not to celebrate, but to be one of millions who will never forget those who have fallen.  Wishing these moments were rare or never happened. G-d will be with us for the next time we join hands it's to #celebrate. You are always in our #memory and in our #heart. The cold doesn't stop us from fighting #remembering and #loving. #RutgersChabad.


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