The Jewish community lost at least five members in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 14.
The Times of Israel reports that the 17 people killed included Jewish students Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, Jaime Guttenberg, 14, Meadow Pollock, 18, and Alex Schachter, 14, as well as geography teacher Scott Beigel, 35.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Stoneman Douglas, has been charged with 17 counts of murder, NBC News reported. He is accused of attacking the high school with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle and “countless magazines,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.
Students said Cruz was someone they joked about shooting up the school someday. He made Instagram posts with weapons and reportedly created a YouTube video in which he boasted about becoming a professional school shooter; that video was reported to the FBI last year.
Cruz trained with a white supremacist group, the group’s leader said Thursday, according to Haaretz.
Camp Coleman confirmed on Facebook that Alhadeff was a Coleman alum and that other Coleman campers were at the school during the shooting. Coleman plans a virtual memorial service at 8 p.m. Thursday on its Facebook page.
“She was a very sweet camper,” Coleman Director Bobby Harris told JTA. “Her counselors always said she did exactly what she was told to do, always helped out whenever she was needed to help out. She was like an angel. She was just a bright light and was very positive.”
Ramah Darom alums also reportedly attend the high school, which serves a large Jewish community. “We are shocked and saddened to hear about today’s shooting,” Ramah Darom posted. “Our hearts and thoughts are with all who have been affected.”
“I am praying for all of Parkland during this dark hour. My heart is shattered by the slaughter of so many young souls,” said The Temple‘s senior rabbi, Peter Berg, a leader of Outcry: Interfaith Voices Against Gun Violence. “As faith leaders, it is our civic and religious duty to urge lawmakers to address the gun violence so that there isn’t one more life stripped away from our community. We can prevent these horrific shootings from happening again. We must pray that all lawmakers will do their jobs and pass immediate legislation to protect our communities.”
The Reform movement posted Jewish resources for families to cope with and respond to the Parkland shooting.
“The leadership of the Orthodox Union is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life yesterday. … All schools should be places where children are safe and can learn and grow without fear of harm,” Orthodox Union President Moshe Bane said in a statement issued by the OU. “Through our OU Advocacy Center we have long worked to propose and advance important and practical policies to make schools safe. We have supported federal and state funding programs for school safety, including the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.”
Knoxville Rabbi Erin Boxt, formerly with Temple Kol Emeth in East Cobb, who has longtime involvement with Camp Coleman, posted the following video on Facebook on Thursday.
One day later…
Posted by Erin Boxt on Thursday, 15 February 2018
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences before leaving for a conference in Munich: “I wish to send my deepest condolences to the families of the slain schoolchildren and teachers in the horrible massacre in Florida. I speak for the entire people of Israel when I say to the families and to the American people, our hearts are with you.”