The University of Wisconsin Chabad and Hillel Foundation hosted a vigil at Library Mall Monday to commemorate the victims of the shooting in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The shooter shouted anti-Semitic slurs before killing 11 congregates and wounding six others, according to the New York Times.

The event hosted many speakers, some university students and others who are part of the Jewish community.

Hundreds of students came, and many shed tears during the speeches. The event ended with a prayer, singing and hugs between community members.

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UW junior Dana Bernhut said she had personally seen an anti-Semitic act occur in her dorm when students had drawn Swastikas on the white boards and were reported. Antisemitism and mass shootings “can’t go unnoticed,” she said. 

Chancellor Rebecca Blank offered her sympathies to the victim’s family and the Pittsburgh community.

UW is a place of learning and creativity and that is only possible with an open and civil environment where students and staff are open to debate, Blank said.

“The use of violence in the name of anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant and other ideologies is not just an attack against individuals, it is also an attack on the idea of this country that we have fought to preserve for generations,” Blank said.

Pittsburgh native and UW junior Olivia O’Connor said she grew up where the shooting occurred and described it as a “welcoming, small community where many religions and ethnicities lived peacefully.”

O’Connor felt more guns and security guards are not the answer, but love and acceptance is.

“As we stand together in solidarity to combat anti-Semitism and hate, that is how Judaism is never destroyed,” O’Connor said.

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Chair of Associated Students of Madison Billy Welsh encouraged students to look out for one another and speak out against bigotry and hatred to create a more inclusive campus.

Similarly, Vice Chair of ASM Yogev Ben-Yitschak, who is a member of the Jewish community, said it didn’t matter what an individual’s background, religion or ethnicity, rather everyone is “in this together,” and it is only by banding together that these acts of violence can be stopped.

Julia Brunson, another Jewish student at UW, also spoke.

“We know that acts of violence are not isolated, not the result of mental illness because hatred is a choice,” Brunson said. “But so is solidarity. So is unity.”