Va. Spiritual Group Mourns Members Killed In India Alan Scherr, 58, and his daughter Naomi, 13, were shot and killed when gunmen opened fire in the cafe at the Oberoi hotel in Mumbai Wednesday. Twenty-five members of the Synchronicity Foundation — a meditation retreat center in rural Faber, Va. — had traveled to Mumbai for a tour of local ashrams.
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Michele Norris: Va. Group Mourns Members

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Va. Spiritual Group Mourns Members Killed In India

Michele Norris: Va. Group Mourns Members

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

We're going to hear now about two other Americans who lost their lives in Mumbai. Fifty-eight-year-old Alan Scherr and his 13-year-old daughter Naomi were shot and killed when gunmen opened fire at the cafe in the Oberoi Hotel. They were visiting India with the Synchronicity Foundation; that's a meditation retreat center in rural Virginia. Twenty-five of the group's members, including their guru, who goes by the name Master Charles, had traveled to Mumbai and it was a spiritual pilgrimage. Four other members were injured in that attack. To find out more about Alan and Naomi Scherr, we called Bobbie Garvey; she's a spokesperson for the Synchronicity Foundation.

Ms. BOBBIE GARVEY (Vice President, Synchronicity Foundation): Alan himself, his wife and his daughter, for the last 13 years have been Synchronicity residents. In other words, they lived here and worked here at the foundation. He also was a college professor at the University of Maryland, you know, prior to coming here. He created and also executed most of our programs and our retreats. He was actually our spokesperson. If he was here today, you'd be speaking to him and not me.

NORRIS: Now, this must be very difficult for you.

Ms. GARVEY: Yes, in many - on many levels.

NORRIS: Mr. Scherr was traveling with his daughter, Naomi. Was that usual, that he would take his children over with him on these spiritual journeys?

Ms. GARVEY: This was the first time that Naomi had actually traveled anywhere that far, you know, outside of Virginia. Naomi was invited to go for a few reasons. Number one, she was very, very interested in her father's, kind of, routes. Alan has traveled many, many times, you know, back and forth to India, giving programs and joining in the festivities over there. She wanted to meet all of the other gurus at the ashrams that he talked about. And probably the most important reason she wanted to go this time was she had just taken her SSATs, scored 95 percent nationally, had finished eighth grade a year early and was applying for a scholarship to attend the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York. And this trip was going to be what she created her essay for that application on.

NORRIS: Had Mr. Scherr been in touch with anyone at the Synchronicity Foundation during his travels on this trip?

Ms. GARVEY: Daily. His wife remained here at the sanctuary, so he daily spoke to them on the phone.

NORRIS: If I may ask, what kind of stories did he share?

Ms. GARVEY: Oh, they were having a wonderful, wonderful, brilliant time over there. He had put together two daytrips for the 25 people that went on this pilgrimage to take them to the different spiritual places and the shrines in India. He was having just the time of his life showing his daughter around. They had gotten her nose pierced because she wanted it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GARVEY: So, they were having a great time.

NORRIS: What have you been doing there at the Synchronicity Foundation to try to support from afar your members who are in India?

Ms. GARVEY: First of all, now, we've contacted our senators and our congressmen to assist us in getting them back here. We daily here have meditations in pouring out love to - not only to our people, but to the terrorists, so that they can see that they're doing wrong and stop what they're doing. Master Charles this morning explained to me that the reaction that he has gotten is an outpouring of nothing but love from the world.

NORRIS: Bobbie Garvey is a spokesperson with the Synchronicity Foundation in Virginia. Ms. Garvey, thank you very much for speaking with us.

Ms. GARVEY: You're welcome.

NORRIS: And we were talking about father and daughter, Alan and Naomi Scherr. Both were killed in the attacks in Mumbai.

(Soundbite of music)

NORRIS: In a few minutes, a conversation with my mother about her childhood. That's part of the National Day of Listening. That's coming up from All Things Considered from NPR News.

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