Five members of the Jewish community killed in Florida massacre

February 16, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Four Jewish students and a teacher are among the 17 massacred in the shooting attack on a Florida school.

Members of the Parkland community share their grief

Rabbi Mendy Gutnick is the youth director of Chabad of Parkland and wrote on his Facebook: “The pain is unbearable. The trauma is indescribable. Our city, our community is grief-stricken and in utter shock. We need to connect with each other in ways we haven’t done before, we need to pray for our present and our future, we need to have strength and we need to remind our children that goodness and kindness is stronger than evil and will always prevail despite the severity the wound it inflicted on us.”

Rabbi Gutnick 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

Rabbi Gutnick is the son of Melbourne’s Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick

Amongst the victims is Alyssa Alhadeff. CEO of The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies Vic Alhadeff told J-Wire the name is common to Jewish families from Rhodes where his family is from. He does not know if Alyssa was a relative.

Two weeks ago, Rabbi Gutnick officiated at the Barmitzvah of Alyssa’s brother.



“She’s the sweetest,” Alhadeff’s grandmother, Vicky Alhadeff, told Miami’s Channel 7 News on Wednesday night. “She’s a big soccer player, very smart, she’s in track. She’s very popular, a very beautiful girl. Oh my God, she’s my life. How could I not love her? She’s my granddaughter.”

The other students killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland were Jamie Guttenberg, Alex Schachter and Meadow Pollack together with teacher Scott Beigel who is reported to have died protecting putting himself in the line of fire.


Jamie Guttenberg   Photo: Facebook

Meadow Pollack Photo: Facebook

Alyssa Alhadeff.
She is remembered by her friends and family as being a talented soccer player, smart, and having an amazing personality .














Local Jewish leaders responded quickly to the tragedy, offering prayer sessions and counselling for the community.

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.

Alex Schachter

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 “The phones at Chabad have been ringing off the wall as people come for emotional, spiritual and material support.”

Scott Beigel Photo: Facebook

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.

Additionally, the leader of a white-supremacist militia called the Clearwater Republic of Florida said Cruz was a member of his group and participated in paramilitary drills in Tallahassee, according to the Associated Press.

Jordan Jereb, the leader of the white-supremacist group, said he didn’t know Cruz personally, and that “he acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he’s solely responsible for what he just did.”

He added that Cruz had “trouble with a girl,” and believes that the attack on Valentine’s Day was not a coincidence.

Anton Block, the president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said: “The Australian Jewish community is shocked and saddened by the massacre of 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Once again an American community is forced to come to terms with scenes of destruction, despair and sorrow inflicted on their own, by their own, in yet another mass shooting incident.

We pray for all of the victims of this despicable crime. We pray for the souls of the murdered and for their families to be granted strength at this terrible time.  We wish long life to the families of the victims. May the memories of their loved ones be a blessing.”

With JNS


3 Responses to “Five members of the Jewish community killed in Florida massacre”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    Well done to the mother of one of the slaughtered victims. We need to see more of this on You Tube as well as in the mainstream media in the USA and world wide and it should be relentless until the US congress “man up” and make a decision to restricting the types of arms available to the public.

    If some Americans want to hunt deer or rabbit let then do it with a blot action single shot rifle not a semi automatic or automatic rifle. If US game hunters cant hit their quarry first shot then they should take up knitting or lawn bowls instead.

  2. Judi Schiff says:

    Yet another terrible tragedy involving mental illness, assault rifles, and a US school. Deepest sympathy to the families of the bereaved and the injured; our highest admiration is extended to those who shielded the children from the bullets.

    While two of our grandchildren were growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I was shocked that the Jewish Day School which they attended had no perimeter fence and no security personnel. At the end of each school day, the children waited outside with a teacher for their parent or other adult to pick them up in a car queue.

    When I queried this seemingly dangerous situation (so different from our fenced and guarded schools in Melbourne), the school arranged for our grandchildren to be picked up from a hall inside the school. I’d hoped for a fence and a guard!

    That’s part of the problem. The other part – the (Constitutional) right to bear arms – will require a lot of persuasion and goodwill, but assault rifles were banned before in the US and should be again.

    The President has the power to act – does he have the courage?

  3. Adrian Jackson says:

    The US NRA and many in the US Congress ate no better than ISIS.

    Some say that the NRA is a terrorist organisation that is run like the mafia paying of politicians.

    The general public in America dont need to be armed with Automatic Rifles or arms generally, like in sensible Commonwealth countries like Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

    Condolences to the families of all those killed and wounded, including the five pictured above.

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