ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Officials from the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester invited the Rochester community to gather at Washington Square Park Sunday to honor victims of mass shootings and gun violence.
Organizers of the event clarified that this is not an ordinary vigil, but is rather a traditional “sit shiva” —described by officials as a Jewish custom of a family and friend group gathering to sit in one’s home for a week to grieve the loss of a loved one; this way the bereaved won’t have to mourn alone.
Organizers said 250 chairs were placed on the grass to represent the number of U.S. mass shootings in 2022. Signs were held that beared the names of victims who have died due to gun violence, with one sign memorializing 16-year-old Zahira Smith, who died from a shooting at a local party.
The event was hosted by the director of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester Monica Gabell and the executive director of Bookbags Express and current director of Pathways to Peace Anthony Hall.