Jewish outpouring for Virginia Tech

new york | Two weeks after the massacre at Virginia Tech, the national Jewish community is funneling tens of thousands of dollars through the school’s Hillel chapter to help Jews on campus and in the surrounding town of Blacksburg.

The United Jewish Communities, the umbrella organization for the North American federations, gave an immediate $10,000 through its emergency and disaster relief committee. Hillel also received checks from individual federations and private donors all over the world, director Sue Kurtz said.

Hillel has used the money to hold nightly communal dinners, barbeques and Shabbat services. The events have drawn 50 to 150 students each, twice as many as usual, Kurtz said.

“I know the students are moving on,” Kurtz said. “A majority of them have stayed here and are going to classes. Most are not taking finals, but they are back in classrooms.

“There is still stress, but they are moving forward in a positive way.”

The UJC also paid for grief counseling, flying in Rabbi Zahara Davidowitz-Farkas from Phoenix to work with students and members of 200 or so Jewish families who live in Blacksburg.

Davidowitz-Farkas is a member of the National Spiritual Care Disaster Response Team, which also helped counsel Hurricane Katrina victims.

Though the students seem to have stabilized, officials are concerned about a delayed reaction to the trauma. There is also potential for secondary trauma once they leave Blacksburg and return to their homes for the summer when the semester ends in two weeks.