Community comes together at Pray for Peace Vigil
On October 9, less than 72 hours after Hamas began its attack on Israel, more than 2,500 people gathered to attend an emotional community vigil held at Temple Emanuel. Faith leaders, politicians, community and agency leaders gathered to mourn the 900 Israelis killed and to pray for the more than 100 being held captive, and some 2,000 injured.
This community-wide service was provided by organizations across the community including JEWISHcolorado, Rocky Mountain Rabbis and Cantors, the Jewish Community Relations Council, The Anti-Defamation League, Israeli American Council, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, The Jewish National Fund, StandWithUs, Jewish Family Service, Hillel of Colorado, Staenberg-Loup JCC, Boulder JCC, American Jewish Committee, and others.
“We are here to show support for Israel, mourn the loss of life that has taken place, pray for the safe return of those who have been kidnapped, and pray for healing for those that have been hurt,” said Scott Levin of the ADL.
Senator Michael Bennet, in read remarks said, “We must support each other as a community in Colorado and stand firmly with our ally, Israel. I stand with our ally Israel and will do everything in my power to make sure it has the resources to defend itself.”
“We can do something bipartisan in Congress if it comes to Israel. To give Israel everything it needs, to make sure that we are together, and that we are together in this fight against terrorism,” said Congresswoman Diana DeGette.
A grandchild of Holocaust survivors, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser noted that the weekend attacks against Israel resulted in the darkest day in Jewish History since the Holocaust. “In dark times, all light is precious. It always matters. We must all do what we can to bring light into our world and support one another and the state of Israel.”
In remarks read from Governor Jared Polis, the governor said, “History has shown us what happens when we stay silent in the face of terror, and tonight we raise our voices to condemn these attacks and call for an end to this violence.”
Denver Mayor Mike Johnston opened his remarks with a statement about how having a child is like having your heart walking around outside your body. Johnston noted how this is true for any who have spent time in Israel— always having a part of their heart halfway around the world—before saying, “I stand with you, this city will be holding your hearts.”
Clergy of many faiths gathered on the bima to lead in prayers for memory, for healing, and for those in captivity. In an emotional moment, JEWISHcolorado’s Shlicha, Nelly Ben Tal, led the room in prayers for the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces.
“In this crisis, every hour, every day, what we will be called upon to do will change,” said Renée Rockford, President & CEO of JEWISHcolorado. “Tonight, we mourn and pray. Tomorrow, we work together across our state to provide all the emotional, physical, and financial support we can muster. And then, our people in Israel will need something else, and we will find a way to give even more.”
JEWISHcolorado has opened an Israel Emergency Fund to assist efforts on the ground to help victims of terror, address trauma issues, and assist with emergency medical and infrastructure needs.