Center for Human Dignity Director Speaks Out After Temple Shooting

Michael Murphy, Reporter

Shortly the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, a candlelight vigil was held at the Misericordia Chapel to honor the victims, and Stacy Gallin, Director for the Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Health and the Holocaust, played an important role in the service.

“I decided that the best thing I could do to honor the memory of those who were senselessly murdered was to speak out against anti-Semitism and intolerance,” said Gallin.

Gallin read the Jewish Tradition in Hebrew during the vigil on Nov. 1.

She received special permission from her Rabbi in New Jersey to come to the Misericordia Chapel to make the vigil special. Gallin thought the service was a  fit for the Misericordia community as they mourned the loss of those at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

“When I attended a service at my temple, Temple Shaari Emeth, I was really moved by the structure of the service and the way in which it incorporated people of different faiths and ages,” Gallin said.

Gallin’s Rabbi, Melinda Panken, showed leadership in response to social justice issues and Gallin took inspiration from her  in the face of social injustice. She was very moved by the structure of the service at Temple Shaari Emeth and how it incorporated all people.

When Gallin approached Rabbi Panken about bringing the service to Misericordia, she did not think twice.

“I asked Rabbi Panken if I could use part of the service at Misericordia, and without hesitation she offered the entire service for our use,” said Gallin.

In fact, Rabbi Panken and Temple Shaari Emeth were more than willing to make the trip from Manalapan, New Jersey to Dallas.

They saw the trip as an opportunity to soothe all those dealing with grief.

“She was honored to be able to play a role in what we were doing at Misericordia because she shares our belief in the value of human dignity for everyone regardless of religion, race, gender, or any other socially constructed category,” said Gallin.

Gallin hopes people look upon the past, reflect upon it, and learn from history.

“Leading the vigil, taking action to try and heal this broken world, felt like my responsibility to those who were murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue and those have been persecuted and killed throughout history for no reason other than being Jewish,” said Gallin.

As a mother of two little boys, Gallin was sickened by the thoughts of having them live in a world with frequent shootings.

“When I first found out about the shooting I was angry and sad,” said Gallin.

However, Gallin used her convictions to turn emotions into action.

She credits her faith in being able to translate the two elements.

“In Judaism, there is a concept known as Tikkun Olam, in which we are encouraged to perform acts of kindness in order to repair the world,” said Gallin.

While Gallin has traveled to many other institutions across the country, she said the Misericordia community stands out in their dedication to preserving equality for everyone and providing acts of peace and healing during difficult times.

“I am proud to be part of the Misericordia community,” said Gallin.