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Message from Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.: Responding to hatred and violence in a Pittsburgh synagogue

| By Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.

Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola University Maryland, sent this message to the campus community on Oct. 29, 2018:

The horrific shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday illustrates how deeply seeds of hatred have been sown throughout our society. This act of violence, which took the lives of 11 individuals in a sacred space, comes on the heels of last week’s shooting in Kentucky, where two African American individuals were shot and killed in a supermarket after their alleged shooter tried to enter a predominantly black Baptist church. We must work to combat the mindsets that lead to these acts of evil in our world.

Each of us has a role in creating a society where all persons are welcome, included, and valued. Particularly for our Loyola community, which gathered on Friday to hear Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor share her powerful personal story, it is deeply troubling to see that anti-Semitism and racism continue to pervade our communities.

Today, our thoughts, prayers, and pledge of ongoing support for the future are with all the Jewish members of our community, as well as our friends at the Bolton Street Synagogue, which partners with Campus Ministry in its annual pre-fall interfaith pilgrimage. Our faith tradition is strengthened and our community richer through the connections we build with individuals of all beliefs, including Judaism. This Thursday we will welcome members of Baltimore’s Jewish community to campus for the Cardin Lecture, which explores topics in the humanities pertinent to the Jewish and Christian traditions, particularly in the area of Jewish-Christian relations.

As a Jesuit, Catholic university, we continue to try to advance interfaith dialogue and ensure our community fosters an environment for individuals of all faiths to live, work, learn, and worship. I invite you to come together in prayer as a community at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, on the Quad.

As Rabbi Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”

Let us pray for all those affected by these acts of violence and speak out against racism and anti-Semitism. With hope and compassion, may we continue to work as individuals and as a community to promote justice and peace.

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