Tributes Read and Candles lit for Synagogue Victims

Following the hateful attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Saturday, Father Hai led a prayer alongside SMC professor and Temple Beth Shalom Rabbi Harry Manhoff outside the Interfaith Sacred Space Monday evening. The names of the 11 victims and tributes written by those who knew them were read aloud as 11 candles burned in their honor. A prayer for healing written by Rabbi Seth Goldstein was recited to call for compassion, understanding, and peace.


Letter from President James A. Donahue

email header from the Office of the President

Dear Saint Mary's Community Members,

I want to offer prayers for the 11 people who were senselessly slain, and for those wounded, in the mass shooting in The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Oct. 27.  Again, our nation is confronted with a horrible tragedy apparently born out of divisiveness and religious bigotry and hatred. 

Like many others, as the news of this horrific act settled in, I was overwhelmed with a deep feeling of sadness for the families of those who were murdered in a house of worship, as they celebrated a new life with a Jewish baby naming ceremony. It was indeed another dark and somber day for our nation, leaving us searching for answers to understand yet another national heartbreak.

In the face of this latest act of hate, more than ever it is imperative for us all to embrace our respective faiths and commitment to the Lasallian Catholic principles of respect for all persons and inclusive community. As we remember the victims of what is reported as the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States, we stand with the victims ofthis latest act of terrorism, with the congregation of the Tree of Life Synagogue, and against hate, bias, and divisiveness in our nation. 

As a Lasallian Catholic community, and in solidarity with people of all faith traditions, it is important for us to gather at times like these to find strength in prayer.  All are invited to gather at 4:30-4:45pm today, Oct. 29, around the Interfaith Sacred Space (near the Chapel), where we will honor the victims and pray for healing and an end to violence.    


James A. Donahue


A Prayer for Healing After a Hate Crime

By Rabbi Seth Goldstein

After a hate crime at Temple Beth Hatfiloh (Olympia, Washington) that took place on  December 22, 2015, Rabbi Seth Goldstein penned a prayer for healing. 

Immediately following the incident he commented: "A recent study documented how Jews are still the number one target of hate crimes in this country. Anti-Semitism is alive and well, and we as Jews need to be mindful and cautious. We are living in difficult times. These are times when racism is again rearing its ugly head. Islamophobia, both in the form of hateful rhetoric and attacks on Muslims, is entering the mainstream. Talk of immigration devolves into stereotyping and fearmongering. Expressions of exclusion and bias are being normalized." 

He responded by creating a prayer for healing because "we not only need to repair the damage and address security measures, but we need to heal spiritually as well."

Eloheinu v’elohei avoteinu v’imoteinu

Our God and God of our ancestors,
Hate has been visited upon our community
Our sacred space has been violated.
We feel vulnerable, afraid, angry and broken.

God and God of our ancestors,
We pray to You:

May strength come from our vulnerability,
so we can support one another,
and receive the support of others with gratitude and humility.

May compassion come from our fear,
so we do not act from that fear,
and we can pursue justice not revenge, peace not more violence.

May wisdom come from our anger,
so we are able to see that an attack against us is an attack against all,
and we are able to join in common cause with those who are similarly oppressed and targeted.

And may healing come from our brokenness,
so we are able to rise from this challenge with renewed life, commitment and connection.

God and God of our ancestors,
In light of this act of violence and hatred,
We maintain our commitment to be shearit Yisrael, the remnant of Israel,
Continually upholding the teachings and traditions of Your covenant,
Pursuing righteousness and compassion,
Justice and mercy,
Peace and understanding,
Love and friendship.

May You frustrate those who seek to do harm
And uphold those who seek to do good.
May the shelter of Your peace spread over us and over all who dwell on earth.

And let us say, Amen.