The Parkland massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 took 17 people, five whom were Jewish. Students Alyssa Alhadeff, 14; Jaime Guttenberg, 14; Meadow Pollack, 18; and Alex Schachter, 14; as well as geography teacher Scott Beigel, 35, were among those killed. Since the shooting, parents, Parkland residents, neighbors, alumni, and MSD students themselves have made headlines across the world for their activism and show of support.
Jamie Guttenberg’s family has been one of the first families of the deceased to continuously speak out. Her mother, Jennifer, gained attention for a piece she penned for Newsweek in which she criticized elected officials for their gun violence policies, saying, “We are currently living in a country where these things occur way too often, and our leaders simply do not care.” Jamie’s father, Fred, has been equally active, attending and participating in Town Hall meetings across the country.
In the wake of the tragedy, two MSD drama students channeled their frustrations into writing “Shine,” an original song, just days after the shooting. The song has since been performed across the country, including at a CNN town hall. Fourteen-year-old MSD student Iliana Waitze Zuckerman, who is also Jewish, recently traveled with three classmates to perform at the annual Ad Council Public Service Award Dinner.
There has also been support from the Jewish community close to Parkland. The Hebrew Academy, an Orthodox Jewish day school in Miami, honored the victims of the shooting with a student-run solidarity program. The program ran for 17 minutes, one minute for each of the victims. Students gave speeches, read poems, lit candles, and many bought “HA is Douglas Strong” T-shirts. The proceeds were donated to Chabad of Parkland. Part of the event was Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed at MSD. He told to the students on FaceTime about the importance of speaking out and fighting for safety at school.
Dara Lieber, Hebrew Academy’s high school assistant principal, explained the importance of the school’s support. “We need to make the world a better place, and we need to make the world a safer place,” she said. “These children are going to make this world a better and safer place for all of us in the future, so I think this goes hand in hand with Jewish values.”
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