At least 12 teens from Chabad of South Metro Denver were caught in the shooting rampage at STEM School Highlands Ranch that killed one student and injured eight on Tuesday, May 7.
“Probably over a dozen teens from our Hebrew School and Teen Club attend the school,” Rabbi Avraham Mintz, director of the Lone Tree center, told the IJN Wednesday morning.
Two suspects, an 18-year-old male student and a younger female, are in custody. The attack erupted at approximately 1:58 p.m.
Mintz said that Chabad Youth Director Rabbi Meir Simon rushed to Highlands Ranch as soon as he heard the news.
“He was there until the evening, comforting students and parents — just being there for them during this challenging time.”
Mintz, who visited the home of a student who was recently a Bar Mitzvah at the center, said the family “was visibly shaken until they located her.”
He also went to Skyridge Medical Center to support the victims.
“We’ve been hearing from a lot of parents that their kids are OK, but emotionally it’s taking a toll,” he said. “We are continually in touch with parents and students and working with other communityy volunteers.
The Teen Club of Chabad of South Metro Denver is planning a dinner and discussion for students who were engulfed in Tuesday’s trauma on Friday evening, May 10. “They will come together and find the light to overcome the darkness,” he said.
Asked about the source of this light, Mintz turned to Torah, which provides inspiration and tools.
“Unfortunately, our world is experiencing a lot of darkness — the shooting at the Chabad synagogue in San Diego and now so close to home. There is a saying, me’at or, a little bit of light dispels the darkness. We must let the light shine brightly to overcome our darkness.”
Mintz, the father of seven, said he is definitely concerned for their safety. “In the world that we live in, how can you not be?
“Just seeing the terror on these parents’ faces as they waited to touch base with their kids…
“Most of the students had cell phones, but one parent didn’t have one. I will never forget the look on her face.”
Mintz, who said that Judaism emphasizes the importance of action, believes religious and secular communities “can’t sit back. We need to listen to the kids; we must do everything we can.”
Prior to the STEM school shootings, the center was advocating local and state representatives to reintroduce a moment of silence in public schools, which is illegal in Colorado.
“We’ve been working on this, and will continue to work on it,” Mintz said. “Our goal is bringing back a moment of silence — not prayer — where children of all faiths can start their day with a sense of light and protection by connecting to that silence.”
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