Shooting victims mourned

Alexandra Scicchitano Contributor

Corinne Blackmer, an English and Judaic Studies professor and organizer of the vigil for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, said the ceremony brought back a lot of grief.

“I was crying, it brought it all back,” said Blackmer.

Martin Laskin, a professor in the sociology department, who also teaches in Judaic Studies, said it was good to see people of different faiths and walks of life going to the vigil to pay their respects.

“It was important to us to have all the three Abrahamic faiths represented here today as a show of peace,” said Blackmer. “I thought to have it in the original languages, the prayers, were important and beautiful.”

Sara Helfand, a senior and English education major, took part in the vigil ceremony and said, “of course it doesn’t feel good to have to go [to] something like that.”

“The president wasn’t there, which was sad, [but] we had a good turn out,” said Helfand. “I wonder what it would’ve been like if we did it at a different time or a different day.”

Blackmer said she thinks the university cares about this issue.

“This is a compassionate community,” said Blackmer, “I’m very happy and proud to be a professor here and I’m moved to be a professor of Judaic Studies.”

Laskin said the vigil raised awareness, and “it’s more personal than people just getting information from the media.”

Blackmer said she believes more men will wear their kippahs, a traditional Jewish head covering, out more in everyday life, and that “it’s a desire to show unity and fearlessness in the face of fear.”


Art professor David Levine (left) with philosophy professor David Pettigrew.


Helfand said everyone must go against that hate and help spread love and kindness.

Blackmer said Judaic leaders have told followers to show fearlessness in the face of this tragedy.

“We’re dealing with it by [making] a new course in Judaic Studies developed called Anti-Semitism and Racism which is actually a course I developed. It is going to be a critical thinking class, so a lot of people will take it on campus,” said Blackmer.

Photo Credit: Jenna Stepleman


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