Jewish And Angry In Morningside Heights
YAËL D. COHEN
The New York Jewish Week
Tue Nov 27 2018
...The Columbia/Barnard Hillel held a vigil on Oct. 28 for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting. According to an article I read the next day in the Columbia Spectator, hundreds of students attended. I say I read it, because I couldn’t bring myself to attend. On that day, I didn’t want to cry. I didn’t want to sing Jewish tunes in a minor key, and I didn’t want to offer thoughts and prayers to anyone. I felt antsy and on edge, and I was not in the mood to mourn. In fact, I’m still not.
That morning of Oct. 28, Columbia University released a statement to the community via email titled, “On yesterday’s tragedy in Pittsburgh.” It said all the things a proper condolence email is supposed to say, with one notable exception: it didn’t mention Jews. If it hadn’t referred to Tree of Life as a synagogue, there wouldn’t have been a single reference to the fact that the attack that had taken place less than 24 hours previously had been motivated by anti-Semitism. The message mentioned several hate-fueled attacks that had occurred in the last few years but said nothing about Jews. The message was clearly trying to put the attack in a larger context, but it succeeded only in sweeping the distinctly Jewish identity of the victims under the rug. I think I may have laughed out loud when I read it....