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The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

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UChicago Fraternities Hold Vigil on Quad Condemning Terror and Antisemitism

The vigil was a rare event for the fraternities, which have not traditionally taken public stances on political issues.
Students+hold+vigil+on+quad+condemning+terror+and+antisemitism
Eric Fang
Students hold vigil on quad condemning terror and antisemitism

Students gathered on the main quad for a vigil organized by the Iron Key Society (formerly Delta Upsilon), Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPI), Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji), and Psi Upsilon Omega at 5 p.m. on Monday, October 16 to condemn the attacks by Hamas on Israel and express solidarity with the Jewish community amid a wave of antisemitism

Second-year Yoav Rosenthal, the social chair of the Iron Key Society; second-year Fiji member Ben Chasin; and fourth-year Sarah Halimi, who grew up in Israel, spoke to the assembled students at the beginning of the vigil.

“Since [the attacks], all I could think was, ‘This could have been me,’” Rosenthal said. “This could have been all of us. My heart is heavy. It has been all week. But as I see you all standing here, I’m hopeful that the light of our collective conscience will shine through the cruelty, hatred, and indifference that we’ve all witnessed on Saturday.”

Many of the vigil attendees have personal ties to Israel. 

“I have a lot of family and friends that live in Israel, and it’s been a really scary time,” a third-year student who attended the vigil said. “While I don’t know anybody directly who was killed by terrorism, I know a lot of people who were affected by it, and they know of people who were either kidnapped or killed or injured. I came here to the vigil to acknowledge that.”

The vigil was also attended by students who had Jewish or Israeli friends but who were not Jewish or Israeli themselves. Speakers expressed gratitude for their presence and support. 

“I’ve been feeling a level of loneliness and crushing antisemitism since two weekends ago,” said third-year Judah Huberman-Shlaes, who described himself as an American and Israeli Jew, when speaking to the gathered attendees. “For the people who aren’t Jewish or connected to Israel, for you guys to come here today—you literally have pulled me out of a depressive hole of antisemitism. I will be eternally grateful.”

Candlesticks were distributed for attendees to light and hold during the vigil.

“To me, that means a lot because candles represent light, happiness, and that we’re all going to use our light…to push through the darkness that’s around us,” Rosenthal said.

“Thank you for lighting the lights for the many, many lost lives,” Halimi told attendees. “I hope we pray for each other because nobody, not a single civilian, deserves to die. We pray for peace and we all pray for this war to end very, very, very soon.”

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Tiffany Li, Developer
Tiffany Li is a member of the Class of 2026 after transferring from Middlebury College. She studies political science and economics and is interested in housing policy, international relations, and music. She reports for the News section of The Maroon and is on the Video and Data teams.
Eric Fang, News Editor, Photo Editor, Design Associate
Eric Fang is a third-year in the College majoring in economics and public policy. He is a news and photo editor for The Maroon with an interest in local housing, campus security, and politics. In his free time, he enjoys biking, listening to music, and exploring Chicago food.
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  • R

    Robert Michaelson / Oct 17, 2023 at 6:12 pm

    Correction to the typo in my letter – “Cap and Gown” of course referred to Phi Kappa Sigma flaunting, not flouting, a photograph of Hitler!

    Robert Michaelson

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  • R

    Robert Michaelson / Oct 17, 2023 at 5:47 pm

    Fraternities may have changed over the years. The 1938 Cap and Gown mentions that during the April 27, 1938 Peace Strike, Alpha Phi Delta displayed a Nazi swastika flag (see photo in William McNeill’s book “Hutchins’ University”) and Phi Kappa Sigma flouted a photograph of Hitler.

    Alas, this Maroon article doesn’t show very much evidence that fraternities today are sympathetic about crimes against Palestinians. Maybe they are, though; one person is quoted as saying “not a single civilian deserves to die.”

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