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South Jersey Jewish community in solidarity with Israel

Peace gathering at Temple Beth Sholom draws hundreds in person and virtually

Hundreds of people gather at Temple Beth Sholom synagogue in Cherry Hill and online on Tuesday, Oct. 10 in solidarity with Israel. (Emily Liu/The Sun)

The South Jersey community came together at the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey’s vigil and rally for Israel Solidarity on Oct. 10 after the recent attacks on Israel by the terrorist group Hamas that, at press time, had resulted in more than 1,500 deaths.

The gathering was held at Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill and was also livestreamed. Hundreds of people attended, and every seat was filled on both floors, with more people opting to stand. Others joined the livestream to pray and sing together. 

Officials in attendance included Council President David Fleisher, Camden County Commissioner Jeffrey Nash, Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, and Congressmen Andy Kim and Donald Norcross. Other delegates on a peace mission made an appearance via video.

Between speakers, cantors from various congregations led songs and prayers in both Hebrew and English and prayers for Israel, its military, and hostages who include Americans. Participants sang the Mourners Kaddish in memory of the dead.

The county commissioners also issued a statement prior to the gathering:

“We watched terrifying images broadcasted internationally that showed the indiscriminate kidnapping and killing of citizens and foreign nationals creating one of the worst atrocities in Israeli history,” said Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli Jr. on behalf of other commissioners.

“Based on these events, we want our community and the world to know we stand with people of Israel and the families of those who have lost loved ones. Furthermore, we definitively condemn the attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah that are occurring during this current period of time.”

Fleisher noted that the township has been in constant contact with its chief of police and Jewish Federation security and leadership, as well as local, county, state and federal agencies on alert for the risk of potential violence. Haddonfield Mayor Colleen Bianco Bezich issued a statement on social media following the meeting. 

Orthodox Rabbi Yisroel Serebrowski of Torah Links urged people to take action both spiritually and by donating time and services. 

“We must work to be more tolerant,” he said. “To love and accept one another in earnest, in spite of our very real differences.”

Following the event, Lampitt released a statement calling for empathy amidst fear and asked that people reach out and check in with friends, family and children.

“Each of us is rightly angry. Each of us is hurting. But we must not let those feelings cloud our judgment, especially when interacting with each other,” she wrote. ” … Working together – talking to each other – we can help each other process our anger, our grief, and our pain. Only together can we truly heal.”

The full vigil can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAK1hODoXGA.

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