At Wesleyan, Chabad
Launches “Operation Light”

Jewish Organization Urges Acts of Goodness

 

Middletown, CT – Following several days of high tension and uncertainty, Chabad at Wesleyan University is asking students, faculty, and community members to add in acts of goodness and kindness.

On Wednesday, May 6, shock and sadness befell the Wesleyan campus.  Twenty-two-year-old Johanna Justin-Jinich, a Wesleyan junior, was brutally murdered at the campus bookstore, and the shooter was at large.

All day Thursday, the campus, and especially the Jewish community, was on high alert, after police disclosed information suggesting the killer may target Wesleyan and its Jewish students.  Finally, as evening turned to night, police announced that they have apprehended the suspect in the point-blank shooting.  With news of the arrest, the level of anxiety at Wesleyan has clearly lessened.

“Now is the time for us to come together as a community,” said Rabbi Yosef Wolvovsky, director of the local Chabad Jewish Center.  “We must add in acts of love and compassion.”

The Rabbi added that while he did not know Johanna personally, since her tragic death he has gotten to know some of her friends.  “Those who knew her describe Johanna as a loving, loyal friend, a giving person, and one who lived life with passion and joy,” said the Rabbi.  “We can honor her memory by living those values.”

To facilitate the performance of good deeds during this difficult time, Chabad has launched “Operation Light.”  The goal of this initiative is to encourage as many people as possible to add more goodness in their lives and communities.

Operation Light was officially launched on Friday, May 8.  Chabad set up a makeshift “Tent of Comfort” on campus and the Rabbi and volunteers were present all day.  “Our main task is just to be here, to show solidarity and stand in unity with the students, faculty, and Wesleyan community,” said Rabbi Wolvovsky.

According to the volunteers, the campus is much quieter than usual.  While typically one can readily hear laughter, singing and conversation, the atmosphere can now be described as hushed.  “Silence is clearly the order of the day,” said one of them.  “You are much likelier to hear crying than conversation.”

Most campus residents were simply appreciative of the support.  Some linger a bit under the tent, making small talk with the Rabbi and the volunteers.  When students did want to talk a little longer, the Rabbi tried to help them channel their emotions in a constructive way.  He speaks of the important value in doing a “Mitzvah” – a positive act – in order to express our energies in a productive manner, and to make the world a better place.

For more information on Operation Light, please call (860) 659-2422, email Rabbi@ChabadER.com, or log on to www.JewishWes.org .