On Oct. 19, a memorial service was held in front of Beverly Hills High School (BHHS) in the wake of the untimely death of 16-year-old student Gael Gomez. Gomez was in his junior year at BHHS and an active member of Beverly Hills High School Jewish Club, where Rabbi Daniel Illulian sits as advisor. During the memorial, Rabbi Illulian spoke about unity, understanding, and love in front of roughly 150 students and alumni who came to honor the memory of Gomez.

Club co-presidents, Daniel Rabkin and Yonatan Kashanian recognized the gravity that such an unfortunate loss is having on the BHHS community. Rabbi Illulian, Rabkin and Kashanian opened the ceremony with heart-warming comments followed by testimonies given by Gomez’s closest friends.

“The BHUSD Community is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our Normans,” BHUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Bregy told the Courier. “We are heartened to see how our students and staff have rallied around one another in this time of grief. We continue to respect the family’s wish for privacy.”

Given the ongoing pandemic, the Jewish Club implemented strict social distancing measures and mandatory face coverings at the memorial. The ceremony culminated with every student lighting a candle to hold up in a moment of silence. Afterwards, Rabbi Illulian closed the ceremony by speaking about how the student body can turn Gomez’s passing into something positive. He reminded the mourners of the importance of being there for one another–regardless of differing viewpoints, popularity and appearances. The ceremony concluded with the laying of flowers at the base of the school grounds.

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