Jewish students in South Bay organize vigil for victims killed in Pittsburgh

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the South Bay, students at San Jose State University (SJSU) and other community members showed an outpouring of sympathy and support for victims in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting on Saturday.

SJSU student, Spencer Brodie organized a vigil, held on-campus at the Cesar Chavez arch near 7th Street and San Fernando, Monday night.

Speakers addressed the hurt, caused by Saturday's act of antisemitism.

The names and short biographies of those killed during Shabbat morning service were read to a dozens of people. Toward the end of the vigil, Brodie blew a shofar, or rams horn, 11 times to honor the Jewish men and women killed.

Brodie explained that like many, he was was observing Shabbat and didn't learn about the attack until sun-down Saturday.

"To turn on your phone and to see this tragedy- the worst antisemitic attack in the history of America- it's mind blowing," he said.

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Some who observe Jewish traditions, don't use technology or perform work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

Brodie, other student groups and community members spent Monday night in mourning. University Police were just steps away.

"The joy of Shabbat was shattered in a matter of minutes," Sarita Bronstein told the group. Bronstein is the executive director of Hillel of Silicon Valley.

She told ABC7 News, she hopes the vigil reminds people that we're more alike than we are different.

"We all suffer when somebody in our communities get injured, or killed, or assaulted," Bronstein said. "Hatred brings us nowhere, and it's very obvious."

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The group was collectively hurting at the hands of hatred.

Jewish students at SJSU told ABC7 News, the attack has brought out real fear.

While wearing a kippah, or yarmulke, Brodie said, "It breaks my heart when I hear of Jews tucking in their Star of David on-campus."

SJSU Jewish Student Union President and college freshman, Ronnie Baruch agreed. She found herself in a tough situation.

"I wanted to take off my necklace. I didn't wear it on Saturday," Baruch said. "To me, that was very big, because I haven't taken it off in 3 years."

The Jewish necklace was back on Baruch on Monday night.

"When you label yourself and you put something on that makes you Jewish, you suddenly can't get away from the label," she explained. "And like, everyone that talks to you will know that you're jewish and will know what they think of you before they talk to you."

Student organizers told ABC7 News, the crowd that gathered Monday night was proof Jews are not alone. And while the group's fortitude may have been tested, their faith was not tarnished.

"To think that on such a spiritual time that, Jews were killed for just being Jewish," Spencer Brodie said. "Not for anything else. You know, it's so sad."
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