Chicago Community Gathers in Memory of Eliyahu Moscowitz

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On Thursday evening, October 11, more than 1,000 men and women from across the Chicago community including many Rabbonim and community leaders, came together for an evening of memory and inspiration remembering Eliyahu Moscowitz, the 24-year old young man who was shot on Simchas Torah night, while walking through the Park.

Rabbi Yosef Moscowitz, Executive director of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois, opened the evening and shared the community’s feeling as we went from the utter joy of Simchas Torah to the utter shock of this terrible and shocking tragedy.  He also highlighted the exceptional coming together of the entire community to help, support and encourage the family and each other in every way possible.

Rabbi Boruch Hertz, Rabbi Congregation B’nei Ruven, host of the event, shared words of encouragement, “we should each add one mitzvah to which we will commit. That will be the greatest zechus for Eliyahu’s neshamah, the greatest comfort to the family, and the battle of light over darkness. Remember, if one act of evil can shake up the entire community so can one mitzvah impact the entire world and bring us to final Redemption.”

Rabbi Yona Reiss, Av Beis Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council, honored the event with his presence and shared words of Torah and inspiration.  “He can never be erased,” Rabbi Reiss asserted. “Not by a masked gunman nor by any other force. The impact of such an individual is everlasting and inextinguishable.”

Rabbi Mendel Moscowitz, father of Eliyahu a’h and Rebbe at SJA Cheder Lubavitch Hebrew Day School, shared heartfelt words. “This week was Parashas Noach, and there were many floods – floods of tears, floods of emails, floods of letters, and floods of visitors. It was not uncommon for us to see an unfamiliar face in our living room, who did not know Eliyahu, who came just ‘because,’ and we were very touched. There were floods of stories of countless people who lives were touched by a sweet, young man, floods of stories of people committing to Yiddishkeit. “

Rabbi Moscowitz related how touched he was when he visited Jewel on the day after shivah, and saw the display set up in Eliyahu’s memory.  The display includes a box were staff and community members have been depositing their memories of Eliyahu and sharing mitzvos they are doing in his memory. He concluded. “Jewel lost a jewel.”

The keynote speaker of the evening was Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson.  “Tonight, Chicago has come together in search of truth. Be kind, build bridges, stop judging people. Look everyone in their eyes, and lift them up, until that world that Eliyahu envisioned will come to be, and the world will be filled with Divine awareness like water covers the sea.”