An Interfaith Peace Garden created in the memory of Avi Schaefer, son of Loyola Marymount University Professor Arthur Gross-Schaefer and his wife, Laurie, will be dedicated on Thursday, April 25, at 12:15 p.m.
Avi Schaefer was killed on February 12, 2010, by a drunk driver. He was 21 years old. During his brief life, he was deeply involved in the Jewish community in his hometown of Santa Barbara.
He moved to Israel at age 18 and served three years in the Israeli army, where he was selected as a member of a special-forces combat unit. However, despite his combat training, Avi believed there could be peace between the Israelis and Palestinians and believed that there should be open dialogue between the two groups to achieve peace. “An enemy is someone whose story you have not yet heard,” Avi said.
The memorial is comprised of stone pillars and benches with quotes about peace etched on them. Avi’s family hopes that it will become a place for faculty and students to gather for classes and to discuss peace.
Rabbi Gross-Schaefer said the Interfaith Peace Garden, on the LMU campus adjacent to the Collins Faculty and Alumni Center, was created in honor his son’s life but also, in part, to acknowledge the efforts of the Avi Schaefer Fund which promotes civility and dialogue on college campuses.
“Our family decided not to focus on how he died, which would move us to a place of anger and revenge, but rather to emphasize that he lived to promote peace and understanding.”