Responding to Tragedy in Israel

In Wake of Terror Attacks, Students, Faculty and Staff at Yeshiva University Show Support

In the last few weeks, as Israel has been hit with another wave of terror attacks, students, faculty and staff at Yeshiva University have come together to reach out to Jews across the Atlantic and around the world.

Last week, following the tragic murder of Yeshivat Ashreinu student Ezra Schwartz z”l, YU, the Orthodox Union and MASA coordinated with Yeshivat Ashreinu to organize a gathering of 1,300 American students in Israel to help them process their emotions and pay tribute to Schwartz’s memory.

Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, the David Mitzner Dean of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future, and Dr. David Pelcovitz, Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Chair in Jewish Education at its Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, also met with hundreds of students in seminaries and yeshivot in a Google Hangout to share words of chizuk [strengthening] and coping mechanisms with which to confront the anxieties and anguish these attacks have caused.

This week, 350 parents from all over the world participated in a discussion titled, “Parenting from Afar: Empowering Ourselves and Our Children in Israel to Cope with Trauma,” requested by rabbis and educators across the globe and led by Pelcovitz and Rabbi Kenneth Brander, vice president for university and community life. The conversation will continue to be available as a resource for parents and educators on YUTorah.org.

On the YU campuses back home in New York, students join together in ongoing tefillah [prayer] and learning programs in memory of terror victims and in hope of peace. Last week students, faculty and roshei yeshiva traveled to Boston to attend the funeral of Ezra Schwartz and visit his family during their shiva. More than 1,000 people rallied for Israel at a kumzitz in Times Square organized by YU students earlier in the month, and students have created their own initiative, Operation YU Takes Action, to brainstorm ideas to help the situation in Israel, fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel propaganda, and share words of comfort and inspiration in a dark time for the Jewish people.

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