AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – As the atrocities continue against Israel, people from various backgrounds and religions are coming together to stand with the Jewish community in Northeast Ohio.
Many people have close ties to Israel or families near the war zone, and Tuesday evening, a gathering was held to show support and offer help.
Several hundred people gather in a memorial prayer at the Shaw Jewish Community Center in Akron, praying for the people of Israel facing horrific acts of violence that started during a surprise attack on Saturday.
“Women, men, seniors, young adults, children, indiscriminately murdered in the street and in their home. Thousands of others injured, many in critical condition, young women sexually assaulted before being killed or kidnapped,” said JewishAkron board chair Stuart Glauberman.
The community gathering is to show support, but also a call to action.
People wrote personal thoughts on a message board where they could also give monetary donations to help the Israelis who need it.
“I think a lot of people are now understanding what Israel has been dealing with for many, many years,” said Rami Feinstein, who lives in Israel, but is in Northeast Ohio as an Israeli emissary for JewishAkron.
He still has relatives and friends back home and compares the militant group Hamas, which carried out the attacks, to the terror organization ISIS.
“ISIS that comes to your house and butchers your kids or kidnaps your kids and take them to Gaza to parade them in the streets. ‘Look what we did to the Jewish kid,'” Feinstein said.
Some families even brought their children, hoping they learn from the experience, not shielding them from the horrific realities.
“To stand with their community, to understand about humanity and hopefully just to grow into very compassionate and loving people,” said Akron resident Lauren Vogel, who along with her husband brought their three children to the event.
After a moment of silence, videos were shown of families in or near the war zone.
“Our family is safe. We’re here with our three boys and we really wish for happiness and more peaceful days,” said one woman in a video.
“We live 50 miles away from Gaza. We still have to go to the shelter too often,” said a man in another video that was shown.
“This is Nazi Germany, this is ISIS on steroids,” said Daniel Blain, JewishAkron CEO
“To our Jewish friends here in Akron and all over the world, our thoughts are with you, our prayers are with you,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan.
An entire community came together to support each other and their loved ones overseas.
“Mourn those whose lives were destroyed and pray for the survivors to remind Israel that we are all one family, to remind the world that Israel, like all other countries, has a right and responsibility to defend it’s people,” said Glauberman.
The Shaw Jewish Community Center has several “unity” events scheduled over the next few days in various places across the city.
They even offered ways people could help, such as participate in their unity activities, be an advocate and share information outside the Jewish community, or donate to their Israel Emergency Fund.