Local Jewish organizations have been busy over the past few days organizing vigils, prayer services and conversations with policy leaders to discuss and mourn the tragic attacks in Israel over the weekend and the ongoing war that’s already left thousands dead or injured.
Vigils were held at the University of Maryland (UMD) and George Washington University (GWU) that were attended by hundreds of students. UMD Hillel issued a statement on Monday telling students that Hillel staff members would be available for one-on-one or group conversations as they process what happened.
“We know that many of our students have connections to Israel – family, friends, and other loved ones. In times of crisis, being in community, Am Yisrael, is more critical than ever,” UMD Hillel’s statement said.
Other local organizations, including the Den Collective and Temple Rodef Shalom, held vigils with their members, while larger community vigils are being held as well, including one taking place in D.C. at Adas Israel Congregation, which is being sponsored by a wide range of community organizations.
Many congregations have also set up prayer services for their members, including one that was held by Chabad of Louden County, which was attended by Viginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin as he stood in solidarity with Israel and the Jewish community.
“There is a bond, an unbreakable bond, between the United States and Israel,” Gov. Youngkin said, as reported by the LoudenNow. “A bond like a brother defending a brother, that will never ever cease. And in a moment like this we must stand strong.”
Other community responses have included setting up discussions that will allow people to have a greater grasp on the situation and understand how the conflict might play out. The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and Jewish Federation of Greater Washington hosted a webinar with Ambassador Dennis Ross called “Israel at War.”
More events are being planned through local Jewish Community Centers and the Jewish Federation in the coming days.