COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — It has been seven days of war between Israel and Hamas – a week of carnage, sorrow, and despair because of the unknown. On Friday, the Columbus community gathered together at a local Jewish temple for a service in solidarity with Israel.
Jews everywhere are wounded.Beth Schwartz, Rabbi Emerita at Temple Israel
Millions across the world watch as Israel and Palestine become war zones. Hamas, identified by the U.S. as a terrorist group, infiltrated Israel’s border and wreaked havoc on Israeli citizens.
Make no mistake, what Hamas has done is an unprecedented escalation in savagery and in its naked attempt not to further the Palestinian cause, but to kill Jews.Beth Schwartz, Rabbi Emerita at Temple Israel
The war has claimed at least 3,100 lives on both sides since Hamas launched a sudden invasion on Oct. 7.
It’s totally inhumane. And it’s an affront, I think, to human beings everywhere. So we’re reacting as a Jewish community because the Jewish community is kind of a small community, even globally. So the family gets affected by whatever happens… wherever to a Jewish community. But this was heinous. And the world really just cannot stand for for something like this.Larry Schlesinger, Rabbi at Temple Israel
Seven days into the war, cities across the U.S. increased law enforcement presence amid threats of violence inspired by the war; most notably, a former Hamas leader’s call for a “day of rage.”
It is a time of great anxiety. There’s really not a history of anti-Semitism in Columbus. But we’re still taking precautions. Our our law enforcement have still been alerted. We have increased security. So we’re still anxious.Beth Schwartz, Rabbi Emerita at Temple Israel
During the service at Temple Israel in Columbus, the rabbis expressed gratitude to those who attended in support of Israel regardless of their own denominations. Among them, Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson, who reached out to the Jewish community himself.
We wanted to make sure that, you know, we stand with you, we support you, and we stand with Israel. And we will continue to do so in the uncertain days that come.Skip Henderson, Columbus Mayor
Nearly 100 people attended the service. Gloria Cohen, the president of the Jewish Federation of Columbus, spoke during the service. Cohen said Jewish Federations across the nation “stand in total solidarity with Israel.” An emergency fund was established for those impacted by the war. Cohen said the Columbus Jewish Federation will be contributing the fund.