State College and Penn state community coming together after thePittsburgh Synagogue sho


    A active and sad scene in Centre County for people as this tragedy hits so close to home. (WJAC)

    UNIVERSITY PARK – The community is also coming together in State College as the Penn State community hosted an event for folks and has opened their doors.

    Despite being miles away from Pittsburgh it’s been a very active and sad scene here for people as this tragedy hits so close to home.

    "I literally am crying now for my own Jewish family from Pittsburgh who I know are grieving at this time," resident Jo Dumas said.

    It’s been an emotional roller coaster for Pittsburgh, the nation, and local Centre County residents after 11 people were killed inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

    Sunday officials released the names of the 11 victims, leaving people with heavy hearts, especially those with close ties to Squirrel Hill.

    "I always hear about these things happen in other places but this is home," Pittsburgh native Julia Messina.

    Messina said it’s crazy because her family lives right near the synagogue.

    The event has prompted people like Dumas to pray for her family and friends living in the area.

    "It's heartbreaking,” Dumas said. “For all those who are lost, we pray for all those who are grieving, those who are lost and we prayed this morning at our Catholic Mass here."

    The sad news came the day after Penn State's Hillel honored the breaking of ground at their future home of Jewish leadership.

    "To have it happen in a synagogue on Shabbat on the day of peace, in the middle of services is a direct attack on the Jewish community," PSU Hillel Executive Director Aaron Kaufman said.

    The Hillel opened their doors after for those who need it.

    "They're able to get the support they need whether it’s through the university's counseling facilities, the meeting we held last night or other events that upcoming," Kaufman said.

    Now residents are urging the importance of coming together in this time of grief.

    "I believe that we all must respond to this tragedy," Dumas said.

    We were told there will be a vigil held Monday night at 7 p.m. on the Old Main lawn.

    The community is encouraged to come out, officials say the more people the better the fight against hate.

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