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The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern Jewish community hosts vigil to honor lives lost in Israel-Hamas war

Samantha Powers/Daily Senior Staffer
Close to 200 Northwestern community members gathered by candlelight outside Deering Library to honor the lives lost in the Israel-Hamas war.

Close to 200 Northwestern community members prayed, cried and hugged one another in front of Deering Library Monday night, honoring lives lost over the last three days in the Israel-Hamas War. 

The NU group assembled to hear speeches from students and Jewish community leaders and offered prayers by candlelight. At the end of the vigil — which lasted over an hour and a half — community members linked arms and sang Jewish prayers. 

Israel declared war on Sunday against Hamas ― a militant group and the governing organization in the Gaza Strip ― after Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel on Saturday. 

The initial attack, Israel’s subsequent strikes and continued violence on both sides have left at least 1,500 Israelis and Palestinians — primarily civilians — dead, and thousands more wounded. 

Weinberg senior Lily Cohen, who helped organize the event along with other students, thanked non-Jewish attendees for showing their solidarity with the Jewish community.

“This has been a challenging weekend, but it’s very inspiring to see us all standing here,” Cohen said.

The crowd sang the Mi Shebeirach, a prayer for healing, as well as Oseh Shalom — a prayer for peace — and the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah, among other prayers and songs.

Hillel Executive Director Michael Simon also led the group in the Mourner’s Kaddish, a Jewish prayer recited in honor of the deceased.

“Funerals have begun in Israel,” Simon said. “Sadly, we know there are going to be many, many more funerals. As we say Kaddish we have in our hearts all of those who have died, all of their families, all of their loved ones and all of our community.”

Weinberg senior and men’s soccer player Rom Brown, who is from Israel, honored Israeli forces and first responders in his speech. Brown served in the Israel Defense Forces for two and a half years after high school. 

“I’m sure that all of you are closely following every update and honestly, none of us can even imagine the distress that our brothers and sisters are going through right now,” Brown said. “During these times, feelings of guilt that we can’t do enough to help keep trickling in.”

SESP senior Dalia Segal-Miller helped organize the vigil and spoke to the emotions running through her mind. 

Segal-Miller said she felt a sense of hopelessness at her inability to help those suffering overseas.

“What can we do over here that will bring peace to land over there?”, she asked. “How can we go on with our daily lives as millions of people are losing their brothers, sisters, children and loved ones?”

She then directed attendees to a resource sheet organizers compiled with a list of charitable groups dedicated to bringing aid to victims of violence in Israel. Segal-Miller invited people to give Tzedakah, a Hebrew word meaning charity, in the form of donations to the listed groups.

Weinberg sophomore Mateo Garcia-Bryce attended the vigil with friends. He said he hopes for peace for Palestinians and Israelis involved in the conflict.

“At the end of the day, we’re all human,” Garcia-Bryce told The Daily. “The loss of human life, from what we’ve seen already and what we will see, is horrible. The violence needs to stop.”

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Twitter: @SQPowers04

Related Stories: 

Two Evanston residents believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas 

Community members say Northwestern is neither a safe nor free space for conversations about Palestine and Israel

Prof. Scott Abramson teaches new course on Israel-Palestine conflict

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