Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney posted a message on her website preaching the importance of strength and courage in a message addressing the Saturday Pittsburgh shooting inside a synagogue which killed 11 people and left nine injured.
Saturday religious services — called Shabbat — were being held at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood when shots rang out.
In 2010, around 40 percent of the neighborhood’s population was Jewish, according to census data.
Rooney said the shooting should be a reminder of community at Loyola and elsewhere.
“It is our community too,” Rooney wrote. “An attack like this, especially in place of worship, is an attack on our social fabric, and we all feel the pain of it.”
The shooting victims ranged in age from 54 to 97; the oldest was 97-year-old Rose Mallinger, who “still had a lot of life left,” a Tree of Life member told CNN.
Two brothers, Cecil and David Rosenthal, 54 and 59 respectively, were also killed. One congregant remembered they were always together and took solace in the fact that they died together, so one wouldn’t have to live without the other, ABC News reported.
Rooney added events like this remind the university community hatred is still prevalent in the U.S.
“The horrific events at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh remind us of how hatred corrodes our society as it erupts in destructive rage, shattering lives, breaking our hearts, and shaking our sense of safety and civility,” Rooney wrote.
The sole suspect of the shooting, Robert Bowers, has been charged with 29 federal counts and 36 state counts. He has a history of anti-Semitic posts on Gab.com, a social media site that’s characterized as an alternative to Twitter. The site has gone offline in order to work with the Department of Justice and the FBI on the case, according to a statement from Gab.com CEO Andrew Torba.
The Tree of Life website features a message mourning the victims and provides a link for donations.
Rooney didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Phoenix at the time of publication.