JTA — A Jewish child was identified as the youngest of the 26 victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn.
First grade student Noah Pozner, the youngest of the victims murdered on Friday, had just turned 6 years old Nov. 20; he will be laid to rest on Sunday.
Israeli news site Ynet reported that Pozner’s twin sister is also a student at Sandy Hook but survived the shooting.
Rabbi Shaul Praver of Temple Adath Israel in Newtown told NPR Weekend Edition host Scott Simon that he spent Friday — which he termed “the day from Hell” — consoling Pozner’s mother, who is a member of the synagogue.
“I told the mother that was grieving that I personally believe in the eternity of the soul, and I believe that she will see her son again,” Praver said. “Other than that theological comment, the rest of it was getting her to think about taking a breath and not trying to plan the rest of her life out right now, because she says, ‘What am I going to do without my baby?’”
Praver was among the clergy, social workers and psychologists who arrived at a firehouse near the school where many of the victims and their families congregated after the shooting. On Saturday morning, Adath Israel held a community prayer service.
In response to the question of why such tragedies happen, Praver replied: “I don’t know the answer to that. I never try to present a theological answer to that. I think what’s more important is to have compassion, humanity and hold someone’s hand and hug them and cry with them.”
Praver, who ended his NPR interview with a plea for listeners to pray for the families affected, also said that another friend of the congregation was killed.