Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh hits hearts of Marshall


A vigil honoring the victims of a Pittsburgh shooting took place Tuesday on the Memorial Student Center Plaza.

Organizers of the event invited the Huntington community to come together following a shooting inside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which left 11 dead.

“Take the time to reflect on those 11 and make sure we remember and honor their lives,” Hunter Barclay, student body president, said.

Following the Oct. 27 shooting , Sophi Golome, a sophmore at Marshall University, organized the event.

“As a Jewish Pittsburgher, I don’t see Judaism on campus, and I wanted to make a difference and change that,” Golome said. “This is just one step to having more Judaism on campus and to have more people know what Judaism is. No matter if you’re Jewish, Christian, whatever gender you identify as, [students] should always feel safe on campus.”

Despite being away from her family and Jewish community in Pittsburgh, Golome said her peers and professors at Marshall have helped her during this time.

“The support I’ve gotten on campus is incredible, but it’s a shock,” Golome said. “You see these events on the news, and you never think it would happen so close to home. It’s like an eerie dream right now, but all of the love and support has gotten me through it.”

During the event, Golome presented a short speech discussing her feelings about the shooting and led attendees in a Jewish prayer.

“Coming together to hear Sophie talk could help people start thinking about Judaism,” Jean Eglinton, rabbi of Huntington’s B’nai Sholom Congregation, said. “It’s human connections that make change work.”

Eglinton said she hopes the most recent shooting will be a valuable addition to the conversation surrounding gun control and will hopefully inspire more acceptance toward minorities in America.

“It seems as though we need a cultural shift which is a massive thing to move,” Eglinton said. “But maybe events like this will help shift people, and eventually we’ll get to the tipping of the point.”

Despite what happened in her hometown, Golome said she is still hopeful for the future and would like for this moment to spark a new understanding of the Jewish community.

“I wish more people would be willing to attend a Jewish service one time or do dinner with a Jewish family as a way to intermingle with each other,” Golome said. “The little gestures are what mean the most. People need to realize that as a country we may be divided, but as a community we’re not. We need to be able to come together during times of sadness.”

Eglinton will be leading a service dedicated to the lives lost in the Tree of Life shooting during the 6 p.m. service Friday at the B’nai Sholom Congregation.

Joelle Gates can be contacted at [email protected].