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Reflections on the Murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue

by | Oct 31, 2018 | News, Voices of Davidson

Monday night more than 300 people attended a vigil at the Davidson College flagpole to honor the murder victims at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community stood in solidarity with members of the Davidson College Hillel who organized the event.


To me, this time necessitates a call for unity. All systems of oppression and hate exist because they are systems. Oppression can only exist within a society when its members allow it to. We are all part of the system that is this college, the towns that we are from, and America, whether this is your country of origin or you are living here currently. Each of us has a responsibility to stand up for the dignity and respect of every individual. We all have a responsibility to stand for those in need of support, especially in times of fear and hate, especially when there are risks involved in advocating for what is right, because the only way systems of hate and fear exist is when we let them. Being passive in the face of hatred and oppression, whether in my community, or yours, only allows for the system of oppression, hatred, and violence to continue.

Speaking personally, I am pretty terrified. One of the motivations by the shooter was his hatred towards the Jewish community’s support of immigrants in the U.S. This year, my synagogue’s community service focus (or, Tikun Olam, which in Hebrew means to repair the world), is to support the immigrant community where I am from. It is a painful truth that the very drive of the Tree of Life Synagogue, and the greater Jewish community to “repair the world,” through supporting those in need, was one of the reasons it was the focus of this act. And that is pretty scary for me, and my family.

It is terrifying for every member of the Jewish community. A community that has pretty much always been under attack. Nonetheless, this event only grows my deep appreciation for my faith, my history, and my family. I am proud to be part of a community that has beliefs founded in equality, respect of every individual, and repairing the world. I am proud that my synagogue supports those in need, and will continue to do so regardless of circumstances. We must stand up for one another – always, because any one of us could be the victim of hate, violence, or oppression.

Yes, this was an attack on the Jewish community, but it was also an attack on all of us. We all share in this Grief. And, we all share in the responsibility to stand up to the hatred and bigotry that this act represents.

Josh Lodish is a Davidson College student and member of the Davidson College Hillel. Josh made these remarks at the campus vigil on Monday evening and he gave News of Davidson to post them on our web site. 

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