Hundreds of friends and relatives attended a private funeral service Monday for Blaze Bernstein, the California college student killed while home on winter break.
Bernstein’s parents pleaded for their son’s death to serve as a wake-up call for his “dream” of bringing change to a broken world.
“As we lay Blaze to rest, we ask that communities around the world that were touched by Blaze’s life, help us keep his memory and loving spirit alive,” wrote Gideon Bernstein and Jeanne Pepper in a statement.
Friends and family wait to enter funeral services for #blazebernstein at University Synagogue in #firstname.lastname@example.org/3DcOXZ33h3— Jeff Gritchen (@jeffgritchen) January 15, 2018
“Blaze was on a path to repair our world and it is a moral imperative that we all take steps now to make sure that his dream is realized,” they continued. “We won’t succumb to hate, bitterness or disillusionment; we will use wisely the time we have left together. When we stop crying we will start doing positive things to affect change. We ask that everyone work towards something good. Stop being complacent. Do something now.”
Scores of people lined up outside University Synagogue in Irvine before the somber event.
Attendees at the service were given a small spatula and a recipe that Bernstein, a cooking maven who worked on a food blog at University of Pennsylvania, created over the holiday break, the local Patch news site reported.
Blaze Bernstein, a popular pre-med student at the University of Pennsylvania, disappeared on Jan. 3 after going to meet a high-school friend in a park near his home in suburban Los Angeles. His body was later found in a shallow grave.
Samuel Woodward, the friend, was arrested after police said DNA evidence tied him the killing. He has reportedly made disturbing comments online about guns and torture. He is being held without bail and is expected to be arraigned Tuesday.
Friends and strangers have created a makeshift memorial for Blaze Bernstein in the park where he was killed. They include scores of small rocks, which are often used as a symbol of remembrance in Jewish tradition.
Whoever created this, I thank you. Your art has touched me. You are making the world a better place. pic.twitter.com/KOuixcvQK3— Jeanne Pepper (@bernsteinmom) January 13, 2018
Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner
At Blaze Bernstein Funeral, Parents Plead For ‘Dream’