As YWN has been reporting, 40% of the student body at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, are Jewish students.
Chabad of Parkland as well as other local Chabad Shluchim have literally been on the scene since moments after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire inside the school, leaving 17 dead, and wounding many others. The dedicated Shluchim have been working around the clock comforting grieving parents who lost loved ones, and helping others cope with their injured children.
Among the 17 victims are 5 Jewish victims.
They have been identified to YWN as:
Medow Pollack (18)
Alyssa Alhadeff (14)
Jamie Guttenberg (14)
Alex Schachter (19)
Scott Beigel (36) – Geography teacher
Chesed Shel Emes of Florida are working to ensure proper Kavod Hames.
“It was a wrenching scene,” Rabbi Mendy Gutnick, youth director at Chabad of Parkland, told Chabad.org. “Parents were gathered outside while their children were still inside of the school, and they had no way to save them.”
“Together with Rabbi Shuey Biston, I rushed to the school to give support to anyone we could. The school is at least 40% Jewish, so we know many of the students and their parents,” he continued. “We went from parent to parent and tried to offer as much comfort as possible, and helped them recite Psalms, praying for the students and faculty in the school. ”
The rabbi said he is coordinating with his fellow Chabad rabbis from nearby Coral Springs, home of many of the students, to hold an evening of prayer, consolation and memorial later this week.
THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN BY RABBI SHUEY BISTON – CHABAD SHLIACH:
2:57AM: The last family just had their worst nightmare confirmed here at the Marriott. I am numb. There are no words nor should their be any words to describe what I experienced today.
From the moment I arrived at Douglas minutes after I got the call and saw my dear friend David Shteif frantically looking for his daughters and then I ran into Reece Roth and Jordan Sarig and David Zaphrany each one running over to share a hug and through tears telling me how they got out…One after another they were coming over and I suddenly realized how many hundreds of students are a part of our community. The fright on the parents faces not knowing if their child is safe and the tears pouring from the students eyes having just seen their friends shot and not being able to help was unimaginable.
Running to the hospital in search of the missing children and then waiting the long hours at the Marriott for our worst fears to be true…The grief the pain. Why? Why? Why?
Why would anyone commit this horrific act?
Today our community has been shaken to the core. Beautiful Parkland will never be the same. We will miss all of the special souls that have been torn away from us.
Let’s hope and pray for a better tomorrow because tomorrow will be better. Let’s love a little more, let’s care a little more, and let’s transform the pain and darkness into light and positive energy.
YWN mourns the death of all the victims, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims equally. YWN is highlighting the Jewish aspect of this tragedy simply because of the interest of our readership. We continue to pray for ALL the victims and their families – no matter their race or religion.
(YWN World Headquarters- NYC)