Hundreds Gather at Synagogues in Palm Beach County to Show Support for Israel Amidst Conflict with Hamas
JUPITER, Fla. — A strong showing of solidarity was displayed on Sunday as several hundred individuals attended vigils at synagogues in Palm Beach County following Israel’s declaration of war against Hamas. Hamas, a militant group governing the Gaza Strip and recognized as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, has escalated tensions in the region. The attendees, driven by their faith, past visits to Israel, or having loved ones in the country, expressed a deep connection with the nation.
The Temple Beth El of Boca Raton recorded video footage of a service attended by a few hundred people on Sunday. Similarly, approximately 300 individuals gathered at an event hosted by Temple Beth Am in Jupiter, which was jointly sponsored by Temple Beth David and Temple Judea, both located in Palm Beach Gardens. Another event at Temple Beth Torah in Wellington drew around 50 individuals who came to show their support for Israel.
One attendee, Jen Boss, who was present at the vigil in Jupiter, expressed shock upon hearing about the attack on Saturday. She voiced her concerns for friends residing in Israel, as well as a family friend currently serving in the army. “Seeing all of the innocent people, who have been murdered or kidnapped or completely helpless, just feels brutal,” Boss said. The service and the sense of community provided some solace amidst the turmoil.
The attack occurred in close proximity to the Temple Beth Torah congregation’s celebration of Simchat Torah, a holiday that traditionally marks the completion and recommencement of the Torah. Rabbi Andrew Rosenkranz, the spiritual leader of the congregation, acknowledged the difficulty of juxtaposing the attack with a celebration. “There’s such a level of anxiety,” Rosenkranz stated, struggling to find words to articulate the magnitude of the situation. He revealed that several members of his congregation have been unable to establish contact with their loved ones in Israel, leaving them in a state of distress. Rosenkranz admitted that he himself cannot divert his attention from the news, remarking, “My heart sank and my heart is still in my stomach. I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything else. The news is on in the car. It’s on at home.”
In response to the escalating violence, the South Florida Muslim Federation expressed its opposition to the targeting of civilians on both sides and condemned the ongoing occupation and mistreatment of the Palestinian people. The federation highlighted the high number of Palestinian casualties in 2023 prior to the outbreak of this recent conflict, emphasizing the urgent need for progress and resolution.
The gatherings at synagogues in Palm Beach County serve as a testament to the unwavering support and shared empathy felt by the community for those affected by the conflict. As tensions continue to rise, the hope for peace and resolution remains at the forefront of everyone’s minds.