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After the tragedy in Pittsburgh

October 29, 2018 10:32 AM
Dear Members of the UMBC Community,

Today we grieve the tragic murder of eleven people in the sacred Jewish space of Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Our hearts are with the victims, their families, and the law enforcement officers and emergency medical professionals who responded. We are also mindful that the Tree of Life tragedy is part of a wave of escalating violence and hate targeting community spaces including mosques, churches, other Jewish institutions, and schools. This is a nightmare for our country.

At times like this, we must speak about our shared responsibility for our communities and join together to act on human values of caring and respect for life that will enable healing in Pittsburgh and across the nation. We must commit ourselves to creating communities that are safe because all are welcome and respected.

Jewish tradition refers to this work as Tikkun Olamrepairing the world. Higher education at its best also embraces this purpose. UMBC is a special community in which we believe in supporting one another, working to understand and appreciate differences, and learning as much as possible about those qualities that make us human. In the days following this latest tragedy, we are confident the campus community will draw on these strengths to discuss and address the deeply troubling challenges in our society today.

Community members seeking to explore these issues either personally or in community are invited to contact UMBC Hillel Rabbi Jeremy Fierstien (; David Hoffman, Director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Life (; the Mosaic Center; or the UMBC Counseling Center.

President Freeman Hrabowski
Provost Philip Rous
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