TRAGEDY UNFOLDING: Multiple Jewish Casualties in Illinois Mass Shooting, Lubavitcher Bochurim at Tefillin Stand Are Safe

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Police search the downtown area of the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Ill., after a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade Monday, July 4, 2022. (Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

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Israel’s Foreign Ministry says they have been in touch with officials from the U.S. State Department who have informed them that Jewish victims are among those hurt in the developing tragedy in Highland Park, Illinois, in which a suspect opened fire on a July 4th parade, killing at least 6 people and injuring two dozen others.

Details over who the victims are remain sparse, though the Jerusalem Post has confirmed that there are at least 2 Jewish victims among the deceased casualties.

A group of 4 Lubavitcher bochurim who were running a tefillin stand at the parade escaped unharmed after bullets began flying. The bochurim, who were there to place tefillin on parade-goers, managed to get to the nearby Chabad house before moving safely to a residence. They are currently remaining indoors upon police recommendations.

A message sent to the Lubavitcher community from Rabbi Sholom Ber Halberstam stated that the bochurim were two blocks from where the shooting took place, and all are now in a safe location.

The scene is still considered active, and a massive police response is ongoing to bring the shooter into custody. The suspect has been described as a white male between the ages of 18 and 20, with longer black hair and a slight build.

Michla Schanowitz, co-director of North Suburban Lubavitch Chabad—Central Avenue Synagogue, was outside her Chabad center at the heart of the parade’s route, just four blocks away from the shooting, when she saw crowds running toward her. Chabad had a table set up outside the center offering passersby a chance to put on tefillin or take a Shabbat candle kit, manned by four young rabbinical students from Chabad’s Yeshivas Ohr Eliyahu Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago.

“The parade had barely started. All of a sudden, I see everyone running towards us,” Schanowitz tells Chabad.org. She began rushing people to safety inside her Chabad center immediately. “Come inside, it’s a synagogue,” she shouted to the stunned passersby.

Schanowitz reports that her student volunteers are all safe and accounted for.

The parade annually has a strong Jewish presence, with Chabad running a float complete with a giant menorah and providing other Jewish experiences for participants.

“Our kids were at the parade, near the shul, with a lot of others,” says local resident Dovid Weissman. “As soon as they heard there was a shooting, they ran home. Right now, we are all sheltering at home, waiting for the shooter to be found. People have been posting on our community WhatsApp group, sharing word that they are OK.”

As word spread, para

des in neighboring suburbs were canceled as well. In Skokie, the parade was called off just before Lubavitch Chabad of Skokie’s Mitzvah Tank was about to roll down the parade route, festooned with a large American flag and stocked with thousands of magnets encouraging goodness and kindness.

“We understand that prudence dictated that the parade be called off,” says Rabbi Yochanan Posner of Lubavitch Chabad of Skokie. “But will we persist in spreading the message of gratitude to the United States of America for giving us freedom and being conducive to a society which values goodness and kindness. So, while there is tragically no formal parade today, our ‘parade’ of a single vehicle will be traveling the streets of Skokie and proclaiming that message.”

 

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


11 COMMENTS

  1. Yamvmhlv – If Chabad’s deceased rebbe is able to take care of his Chassidim like a shepherd (when the rebbe has no physical form), then what is the difference between the Chabad rebbe and a deity?

  2. The republican candidate for governor in Illinois just tweeted that people should stop for a moment and pray for the victims and then “get on“ with celebrating the Fourth of July. This guy is either totally brain dead or insensitive beyond belief. He was already 17 percentage points behind Pritzker in the most recent poll and I doubt his comments today will improve his standing with the Illinois electorate

  3. Maybe it’s time to stop attacking Gov. Hochul and Democrats who advocate for common sense gun control.

    The mantra that guns protect you is clear nonsense. Poway, Pittsburgh, Parkland, Uvalde and now this. It is insane. Crazy kids with high powered guns and rifles kill people.

    Too many Republicans are stuck in their ideological muck .Purchase age must be increased now. Red flag laws must be instituted now. Hight powered rifles and guns must be banned now.

    It’s time to be pro-life and vote for people who will stand up to the gun lobby at get these weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of these crazy individuals.

    Even if gun legislation doesn’t stop all gun violence it will stop some. We must stop deluding ourselves that guns will protect us against heavily armed crazies with body armor.

  4. “I am going to be a hero and take out the next mass murderer with my concealed carry firearm” – sure, maybe in the movies. Stop being delusional and start banning guns.

  5. @yamvmhlv you sound pretty naive.
    What’s with the bucherims shmiras einyim? How can you praise such a thing?

    And how can you put holy tefilin on impure bodies?

    Oyvey. Shoimoi shumayim

  6. @RightJew: yamvmhlv was just paraphrasing the words of the Rebbe Rayatz after his father’s passing that after tzaddikim leave this world לא יפרדו מעל צאן מרעיתם – they do not leave their flock, rather they stand before the כסא הכבוד to beg for mercy and protection for the Yidden (Igros Kodesh Rayatz vol. 1 pg. 141).

    Sotah 13b: מה להלן עומד ומשמש אף כאן עומד ומשמש – just as before his death Moshe stood and served, so too now he stands and serves.

    @JayD: Do you ever leave your house to go to the store? Are you moicheh when you hear about bochurim who go to the store to buy shoes? (we’re not even going to bring up going to the zoo on chol hamoed, participation in protests, and many other outdoor activities you may be involved in).

    Is it okay to risk your shmiras einayim for your personal pleasure and shopping, but not to help other Yidden do mitzvos!? שומו שמים!

    “And how can you put holy tefilin on impure bodies?”

    This is a behavior that was condoned by countless rabbanim and poskim. These questions were answered several times by the Lubavitcher Rebbe (including lengthy correspondents with Rav Yitzchok Hutner – Shulchan Menachem 1:119-124).

    If you are wondering why we do not push off a mitzvah m’doraisa (tefillin) for the possibility of being unclean, ask your local orthodox rabbi.

  7. Crazy indeed. There’s nothing common-sensical about any of these proposals.

    Why should the purchase age be increased? What good is that supposed to do? Are you trying to spread the stupid lie that most such shootings are done by people between 18 and 21?! There’s just no basis for that! This shooter, for instance, is 27. So even if he bought his weapon legally (that’s not known yet), raising the age wouldn’t have stopped him. Meanwhile, BY WHAT AUTHORITY can Congress deprive a legal adult of a basic constitutional right? If 18 isn’t old enough to own a weapon, then how can it be old enough to vote?

    “Red flag laws” deprive people of constitutional rights without due process. What would you say about such a law that would let the police simply arrest someone because someone said something about him? What’s the difference between arresting him and seizing his guns? The right to freedom is not more sacred than the right to be armed. To do either you need to have due process of law. He must have notice of the charges against him, a chance to confront and rebut them, legal representation if he can’t afford it, and a fair hearing before a neutral finder of fact. Red Flag laws give none of that.

    And what is “high powered” about these weapons? An AR-15 is not “high powered”, it’s normal powered. it’s a regular rifle, useful for many purposes, including self-defense, target shooting, and hunting small game. More to the point, Congress has NO AUTHORITY to ban it. Owning it is a constitutional right, and that is an end of it.