Jewish Groups Around The World Mourn
The US bowed its head on Thursday in the aftermath of the second-deadliest public school shooting in its history, which claimed the lives of 17 people in Parkland, Florida, including five Jews — four students and a teacher.
Flags flew at half-mast at our Levite Jewish Community Center and across the country Community Center, the Senate held a moment of silence, and synagogues near the shooting held special prayer services.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the Florida shooting before boarding his plane to the annual Munich Security Conference.
“I wish to send my deepest condolences to the families of the slain school children and teachers in the horrible massacre in Florida,” Netanyahu said. “I speak for the entire people of Israel when I say to the families and to the American people, our hearts are with you.”
Parkland Chabad Rabbi Shuey Biston said that the town is still reeling from the shock and trauma of the incident.
“This is a small community, where nearly half of the population is Jewish, so everyone has been touched by what has happened,” Biston told Chabad.org. “The phones at Chabad have been ringing off the wall as people come for emotional, spiritual, and material support.”
Rabbi Jonathan Kaplan of the nearby Temple Beth Chai spent the evening at the local Marriott Hotel, where parents had gathered to reunite with their children, counseling parents whose children were among the missing.
“It’s chaos here and devastation,” Kaplan told the Jerusalem Post, on his way to console the bereaved parents in his congregation. “Everyone is just waiting and praying. No words can describe what happened here.”
The Birmingham Jewish Federation also sends our thoughts and prayers to those who have been affected by this senseless tragedy.