Feature Photo: J Street U Holds Candlelight Vigil

Students gathered in Wilder Bowl this Wednesday to attend J Street U’s vigil commemorating lives lost in Gaza and Israel over the summer. “The goal of this vigil is to seriously grapple with the loss of life in Gaza and Israel, to present a vision for a better future and [to] recognize our responsibility to make choices to achieve it. This vigil is an opportunity to address the deepened divisions in our campus community and to shift the conversation away from blame and towards politics of responsibility,” members of J Street U said in an email to the Review. Last week, members of Students for a Free Palestine staged an installation that they said was deliberately not a vigil, but rather a call to action against the student body’s “complicity in these acts of violence.” A sign in front of the installation also encouraged viewers to sign a petition “demand[ing] the divestment of [students’] tuition money from corporations that perpetuate and profit from Israeli occupation.” Members of J Street U have said that they are saddened by the polarization within the Oberlin community and that they want to offer a more productive path toward establishing sustainable peace. “To resist the divisiveness of the moment, we [brought] the memory of these dead together in an act of shared mourning, one that also acknowledges the asymmetrical power reflected in the number of dead,” said members of J Street U. At the event, students recited the names of the dead and read poems by candlelight.