Over 1,000 people filled the Werdiger Family Hall, located at Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Colleges in St Kilda East last night, to join together in prayer for the victims and all those connected to Friday’s horrific incident in the CBD. The evening was organised by Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Colleges and the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) and attracted members from the entire spectrum of the Victorian Jewish Community including many Members of Parliament and Police Officers.
Rabbi Daniel Rabin, President of the RCV opened the evening and thanked all that came to support each other during this difficult time. Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler, Principal of Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah, spoke about the terrible incident that has affected the entire Australian community and wished those victims still in hospital a complete and speedy recovery.
Rabbi Smukler said in his speech, “The Jewish response to terrible tragedies is to respond with a simple heartfelt prayer, Baruch Dayan HaEmes. We acknowledge that we, although rational human beings, are unable to comprehend the situation. So instead of trying to rationalise, the Jewish response is to take action and funnel our energy and emotions into ‘What can we do?” He reiterated the importance of talking openly and honestly about the tragedy with our children in age appropriate language. We must also reassure them that we live in one of the safest countries and most liveable cities in the world and that what occurred is not the norm.
Rabbi Yisroel Sufrin, Beth Rivkah Pastoral Rabbi gave over some Jewish learning in memory of the five victims that passed away and in particular Thalia Hakin OBM, who was a Beth Rivkah primary student. This was followed by Psalms led by two of Thalia’s classmates, Mr Hakin’s Yeshivah College classmate and their family Rabbi. Rabbi Rabin gave the closing remarks and spoke about how the concept of “remembering” a loved one should also include a positive action. He encouraged the attendees to unite together with sincere care for others and expressed his inspiration that so many people had come out in solidarity to show the victims’ families how much they care. He asked the attendees to give ‘Tzedaka’ donations toward the Hakin family and encouraged everyone to donate to the State Government fundraising campaign for the victims of this incident.
Rabbi Rabin said “This was a tragedy that impacted on the entire community, and I am deeply moved and inspired by the community’s connectivity in coming together at short notice to show their respects for all those involved in this horrific tragedy.”