On October 27th, 2018 the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh lost 11 members to hate.
Here at the University of Rhode Island, I was sleeping in enjoying my Saturday morning. I found out later that day about what happened and was emotionally shaken. How in our modern-day lives, are we still seeing these hateful acts?
I got into a discussion with some of my peers and we came to the realization that we only see what we identify with. I identify with the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting due to my religious beliefs. Meanwhile, there was another shooting that day in California that I did not hear about until a week later. Public awareness is skewed to see only what the media believes will be a good story.
This is not my rant on the media; this is how I got an idea.
A representative from Hillel International came to visit URI HIllel the Tuesday after the shooting for a previously arranged visit. Other students and I sat with her to discuss what we enjoy about Hillel, and thought we had on improvement and growth for URI Hillel and it’s community. We were speaking about programs, when I came up with the idea to connect all of the Hillels across the country in our stance against hate crimes.
I have always loved the concept of “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” and how people from different walks of life can all be connected in something very simple. My original idea was to pass a light from Hillel to Hillel. The idea evolved into us sending a yahrzeit candle to every school that wanted to participate.
We requested and received a generous gift from Michael Smith, Director of the Shalom Memorial Funeral Home in Rhode Island. He sent us two cases of 7-day memorial candles and a check to cover the cost of postage to ship each candle out. Each week, one Hillel will light a candle and post a picture on Instagram using the #fighthatewithlight. The # can be followed by anyone to see where the light will take us and unify us.
Each candle has been decorated with a black ribbon that says #fighthatewithlight.
The Project will continue until the 18th of Cheshvan 2019, the Jewish calendar year anniversary of the deaths of:
I hope that this project unifies all of our Hillels, and shows the importance of standing up against all hate acts and negativity in the world. We are creating a positive message from a tragedy. May the memory of the victims be for a blessing.
Follow URI HIllel on Instagram @rhodyhillel
& the #fighthatewithlight