Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Local Jewish leaders responded quickly to the mass shooting

(JNS)-Rabbi Bradd Boxman of Kol Tikvah, a Reform congregation in the town close to Boca Raton, held a healing and memorial service after the mass shooting that was attended by community members.

According to Rabbi Boxman, a large number of students from his congregation was enrolled at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Rabbi Jonathan Kaplan of Temple Beth Chai counseled parents at the local Marriott hotel whose children were still unaccounted for. Kaplan said that Jamie Guttenberg was among his congregants, and he had tutored her for her Bat Mitzvah in August 2016, the Forward reported.

Rabbi Shuey Biston, director of outreach and development of Chabad of Parkland, said the Jewish community in Parkland was very tight-knit.

"This is a small community, where nearly half of the population is Jewish, so everyone has been touched by what has happened," Biston told Chabad.org. "The phones at Chabad have been ringing off the wall as people come for emotional, spiritual and material support."

Rabbi Mendy Gutnick, youth director at Chabad of Parkland, said that many of the teens are still in shock. "There is one girl we know who was standing between two friends who were shot dead. How can she not be scarred by something like that?" Gutnick told Chabad.org.

The attack was committed by Nikolas Cruz, 19, who was expelled from the school last year for disciplinary problems. Cruz, who was arrested by police shortly after the attack, was charged with 17 counts of premediated murder and ordered to remain in jail without bond by a judge on Thursday.

Officials said that Cruz, who used an AR-15 assault rifle for the attack, had a "very disturbing" social-media presence, which included showing a large number of guns and sharing pictures of small animals he had shot, NBC News reported.


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