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'There is more that unites us than divides us': Thousands gather at Baltimore synagogue in support of Israel

Beth Tfiloh Congregation in support of the State of Israel
Posted at 11:09 PM, Oct 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-11 14:16:56-04

PIKESVILLE, Md. — “All of us here tonight will know somebody that has been directly affected; none of us are immune," said Senior Rabbi Joshua Gruenberg of Chizuk Amuno Congregation.

Thousands of Jews from the Baltimore community came together in Pikesville just days after the deadly attack in Israel on Saturday.

“My heart hurts; my heart feels like it is broken to the extent I have never felt in my life," Rabbi Chai Posner, the senior Rabbi at Beth Tfiloh said.

The surprise attack from Hamas took place on the religious holiday Simchat Torah.

“A joyous holiday, a holiday where we dance and we sing. It's obviously not a mistake. It's 50 years, pretty much to the day as the Yom Kippur War," Posner said.

The death toll has risen on both sides of the war as each day passes and the fighting continues.

Many people are concerned about the safety of family and friends who are in Israel.

“I’m sad more than anything. I’m really sad. The pictures are horrific; the loss of innocent life civilians, women, and children being taken hostage. I'm sad, and what saddens me even more is that the whole world isn’t sad," says Gruenberg.

Jews of every denomination and religious affiliation gathered in one synagogue.

They shared prayers, songs, and messages of hope, encouraging one another to remain strong during this time.

“That kind of unity, that kind of solidarity, in the face of such destruction and such terrorism is, I think, the best way that we can respond as a Baltimore community," Gruenberg said.

Posner says gatherings like this are a source of healing for everyone.

“It means a lot to know that people are here and that people care, and I’ve heard from my friends in Israel, friends and family, that the moral support that they’re receiving is actually the greatest gifts that we can give them," he said.

For those looking to donate to provide aid to Israel, the Associated, the Jewish Federation of Baltimore, has set up an emergency fund to support victims.

To donate to that fund, click here.