HBHA Responds – Jewish Community Shooting


Alex Sher



IMG_4765“Personally, I was very upset and very worried, but I wanted to do something. My husband went out to talk to residents at Village Shalom during the lockdown, so I knew it had to be safe. In BIAV, we made a space [during] the chag for people to come over and talk if they wanted to.”

Dr. Ayala Rockoff School Psychologist 







IMG_4767“It was scary and I didn’t really want to come back to this school afterwards. I went through the JCC instead of going through the parking lot. [On the day of the shooting], I was in the JCC. They moved us to the social hall and they never told us what it was until we were in there. At first we thought it was just a drill. We stayed there for an hour and a half.”

Abby Kreisler Fifth Grade



IMG_4768“I was in the gym and somebody came up to me and told me there was an active shooter outside. We all went into lockdown and it was very surreal. For the first fifteen minutes, we had no idea if the shooter was outside or inside. I had to hide in a bathroom stall until we realized the shooter was outside and that the building was locked. Hours later, I realized the shooting happened directly behind my car and the police would not let me get to my car. The windows of all of the cars around mine were shot out. Three days later, I came back to get my car and it was still very obviously a scene of death and violence. As I was leaving, it was very clear that life was taken there. I felt a huge gratitude that I was unaffected and that my son was not there, but also a huge sense of grief and vulnerability that this could really happen to us after years of watching similar events happen around the country. Looking back, I was really impressed with how the Center [JCC] followed protocol. I feel really grateful with how it was handled. I felt vulnerable when my kid went off of campus to Topeka the other day. I was so worried with what the protocol was out there. I’m grateful of how fortunate we are that, in contrast to the Holocaust, we get all of this support from different religious groups, the community, the police force. In the Holocaust, nobody supported the Jews, so it’s amazing we’re living in this time when we can live freely as Jews. Also, on another note, I think the brutal irony that three Christian people were killed sends out this message that everyone is vulnerable and we are all responsible to take care of each other and help each other regardless of race and religion. It’s been amazing to see everyone come back to school with so much bravery and strength. It’s very life–affirming and faith–affirming.”

Barb Jacobs Teaching Aide

IMG_4771“I was very shocked and never expected it. I would think that crime would happen elsewhere in town. I participated in the walk for Reat, and I was scared to come back to HBHA. My mom gave me reassurance that it would be safe. Now I’m not scared anymore.”

Ethan Matsil Seventh Grade


“I felt distant from the shooting, even though I also felt that I should have felt connected to it. I’m young and naïve and I understand that I don’t really understand how death works. I felt bad, but I wasn’t scared.”

David Robinow Junior 







Photographs by Alex Sher