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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

IN PHOTOS: Vanderbilt community members attend Chabad and Hillel vigil for lives lost in Israel

The Jewish Federation of Nashville held a rally for Israel in Nashville the previous day.
Laura Vaughan
Students support one another as blessings are spoken over Israel, as captured on Oct. 10, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan)

Correction: This piece was corrected at 1:37 p.m. CDT on Oct. 12. It previously stated that Veronica Grady was a staff member of Vanderbilt Hillel; she is actually the assistant director. Additionally, one of Grady’s quotes was misattributed to Maya Robin.

Approximately 200 students and community members attended a vigil for lives lost in Israel co-hosted by Vanderbilt Hillel and Vanderbilt Chabad on Oct. 10. 

The previous day, the Jewish Federation of Nashville organized a rally in support of Israel at the Gordon Jewish Community Center. An estimated 700 people were in attendance, including Gov. Bill Lee and Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti. 

“We believe and have faith. There is hope, and we have great hope just like has always been the case that this country and this state will stand together with these people,” Lee said at the rally.

Veronica Grady, assistant director of Vanderbilt Hillel, gave opening remarks to begin the vigil at Vanderbilt.

“Tonight you will hear stories and statistics about the hell on earth that Hamas terrorists have set upon our beloved homeland,” Grady said. “I urge you not to look away. Instead of shutting yourself in and the horrors of the world out, I challenge you, instead, to lean into your community. Do what Judaism teaches us to come together.”

Grady also reflected on the proximity of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack to the Jewish holidays and criticized the “court of public opinion.” 

“The holidays of the previous month had enshrined us in, and we were standing raw and vulnerable as the court of public opinion passed judgments, providing what [it] called context, and what we experienced as dehumanization. What did Israel do to provoke this? What did Israelis do to earn this?” Grady said. “Let me be clear, there is no justification, no normalization, no modicum of understanding or careful framework of context that is sufficient to justify terror.”

At the vigil, small candles were arranged in the pattern of the Star of David on Library Lawn, around which attendees gathered to mourn the lives lost in Israel. The area outside of Buttrick was also decorated with Israeli flags. Some students took available flags to wrap around their shoulders. One flag was hung on the statue of Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, which stands at the top of Library Lawn. 

Junior Maya Robin, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel, spoke at the vigil about her experience checking on loved ones who live in Israel and serve in the Israel Defense Forces. 

“I never thought I would have to message so many of my friends and family to ask if they were alive and okay. I’ve been so scared to open my phone,” Robin said. “For the past few days, I’ve been shaking in fear.”

After prayers led by Jewish student leaders and the singing of the Israeli national anthem — Hatikvah, Rabbi Shlomo Rothstein, director of Vanderbilt Chabad, gave closing remarks. 

“We are a diverse group of people standing here, many different opinions, but we stand united in our love for humanity and our outrage at terrorism. Tonight we need each other’s support more than ever,” Rothstein said.

Rothstein added that the news of Hamas’s attacks evoked memories of the Holocaust for him and Jews worldwide.

“The feelings I get every time I see the news and think about the terrible, terrible tragedy is actually how I feel when I’m in Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem,” Rothstein said. “Grief, anger, gut-wrenching sadness for the senseless hate and murder of my people.”

Rothstein led attendees through readings from the books of Isaiah and Micah as well as Oseh Shalom — a prayer for peace — and Am Yisrael Chai, before encouraging students to take comfort in the community around them and remain on the lawn for as long as they like.

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About the Contributors
Barrie Barto
Barrie Barto, Editor-in-Chief
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with neuroscience and communication of science & technology minors in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. When she's not strolling around campus with her camera, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
Brina Ratangee
Brina Ratangee, Editorial Director
Brina Ratangee ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in medicine, health & society and neuroscience. She previously served as News Editor. When not writing for The Hustler, she enjoys trivia nights, solving NYT crosswords and biking around Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Laura Vaughan
Laura Vaughan, Senior Staff Photographer
Laura Vaughan (‘25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science studying mathematics and economics. When not out on an assignment for The Hustler, she can be found studying in the Schulman Center, having lunch at Frutta Bowls or trying to clean her file structure. She is available at [email protected].
Charlotte White
Charlotte White, Staff Photographer
Charlotte White (‘26) is from Los Angeles, and is majoring in medicine, health and society and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of class, she loves to read, watch movies or do anything outside. They can be reached at [email protected].
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Seeking justice in all things
4 months ago

May G** rest their souls