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The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Community gathers in vigil for Israel

Local+Jewish+and+Israeli+communities+gather+at+Har+Shalom+for+vigil+honoring+those+killed+in+Israel.+
Mia Forseter
Local Jewish and Israeli communities gather at Har Shalom for vigil honoring those killed in Israel.

Last Thursday night, a vigil for Israel in light of the current war was held at the local synagogue Har Shalom. About 2000 people attended the event, requiring an “overflow” room on top of the main sanctuary. An overall solemn night in remembrance of the Israeli victims was also interspersed with messages of hope. The vigil was sponsored by many Jewish organizations in the area, including CESJDS.

“How can you not [come]?” Chief Development Officer for Americans for Ben Gurion University, Keren Waranch said. “They’re watching from Israel to see and they feel like they’re not being supported. And this is just one way that we can show our signs of support. So when they see on social media a room packed with people and a parking lot full and all the people who come out just to show their support for them, then that alone is worth it.”

Both rooms were standing room only, despite the overflow room only having the livestream of the event. In addition, around 450 watched from home, which included congregates from 20 plus communities, clergy of neighboring faiths, politicians and diplomats. 

Among the community that gathered, there were many JDS students, parents and faculty. Shir Madness ended the event with the singing Hatikvah.

“I decided to come because I really want to support Israel and be in solidarity with everyone else,” seventh grader Sadie Hosid said. “And I was almost not going to come because we were a little scared once school was closed, but I’m really glad we did because we don’t want to show people that we’re scared.”

Bernie Brill, a congregant of Har Shalom who had his Bar Mitzvah around the time of the Six Day War in 1967, which the current war has been widely compared to, appreciated the community coming together and the overall U.S. support.

“I think it was nice to show support by the Jewish communities,” Brill said. “All the congregations getting together, and just seeing some harmony in the community and seeing the leadership [at the vigil], some government leaders there and people from the Israeli Embassy there.”

Many rabbis from different communities recited prayers, and important people in the Jewish community shared remarks such as congressmen, diplomats and leaders of Jewish organizations. 

In his speech, Rabbi Adam Raskin of Har Shalom said that the unity of Jewish people right now is extremely important as the community tries to find comfort in these times. 

“Every single label that has separated us, or branded us, or siloed us from one another is utterly irrelevant right now,” Raskin said. “Religious labels, ideological labels, political labels, mean nothing. The only thing that means anything right now is that we are one Jewish people. And this feeling of unity in this community and around the world is the only thing, the only thing, that has brought me any comfort.”

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About the Contributor
Mia Forseter
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor
With much of her life revolving around playing sports, Mia is excited to take on her role as Sports Editor for the Lion’s Tale this year. She looks forward to designing spreads and continuing to provide a great sports section for readers. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Mia plays for the Varsity Softball and Cross Country teams. Mia enjoys volunteering at the National Youth Baseball Academy during the summer. She is also very involved in debate, and is a media center fellow. She can’t wait to work with her co editors to produce an amazing sports section and overall newspaper.  

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