Following the vigil held on Monday, Oct. 2 at Kimmel Center for University Life, the Bronfman Center’s director, Yehuda Sarna, made a Facebook post asking for volunteers and financial support for a relief trip to Las Vegas in the wake of the mass shooting there. Several members of the NYU community answered the call.
After landing, the Bronfman team visited the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During the attacks, many survivors were brought to UNLV, where they were met by UNLV students who aided in medical care. During their trip, the representatives made it a point to reach out to the students and open a dialogue with them. During this discussion, they offered words of encouragement to the students. Along with offering encouragement, Senior Associate of Leadership, Dana Levinson placed candles around a memorial that was stationed at the UNLV campus.
Following their campus visit, the group went to the United Blood Services. While at the blood drive the representatives were joined by the the Las Vegas Golden Knights, an NHL hockey team, who were there to lighten the mood following the mass shooting.
Among those who volunteered was CAS senior Elisha Jacobs, who is no stranger to helping out. In 2015, Jacobs accompanied the Bronfman Center to Paris following the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the assault on a kosher market. When Jacobs saw Sarna’s post, he felt he needed to act.
“I looked at it, and I was thinking like this is probably the right thing to do,” Jacobs said. “It kinda just hit me.”
Fellow volunteers — including Levinson and CAS junior Rose Asaf, who is a Las Vegas native — shared their sentiments.
Though Asaf’s hometown is Las Vegas, that was not the only reason she went.
“I would say even if it wasn’t my hometown I would’ve gone,” Asaf said. “I do activist work and organizing, and I think in times when there’s a call to action you answer that call.”
“When we landed we didn’t have a plan,” Levinson said. “We really just needed to see what was needed, and how we could be most helpful.”
As the representatives were leaving, Jacobs noticed a girl sitting on a chair crying. He took it upon himself to talk to her. She said she had survived the shooting.
“This was a 20-year-old girl. She told me the day of the shooting was her birthday,” Jacobs said. “She was just broken.”
An objective of the mission was to establish a sense of community with those who were affected by this great tragedy. In the Torah, the formation of community is a crucial part of Jewish living.
“I think that a huge aspect of Jewish life is this concept of community, and this concept of how we support one another,” Levinson said.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 11 print edition.
Correction: Oct. 12, 2017
A previous version of this article had a photo caption that stated that Bronfman Director Yehuda Sarna went to Las Vegas, however, he did not go and instead organized the team that went.
Email Jalil Johnson at [email protected]