Vigil offers comfort to community


PROVIDENCE – An overflow crowd of hundreds came together Monday evening at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center to offer prayers for victims of the attacks on Israel and prayers for peace.

The hour-long vigil included music by area cantors and song leaders, speeches by Rhode Island political leaders, a d’var Torah and remarks by the consul general of Israel to New England and other Israelis.

The gathering was sponsored by the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island to offer comfort to the community for a situation for which there are no answers.

In opening remarks, Adam Greenman, president and CEO of the Alliance, said, “The brutality, the targeting of innocent civilians, the hostage taking, the barbarism has left me gutted, as I know it has for so many in our community. And when that happens, we come together. To be together, to find comfort in our traditions, in our songs and prayers for peace, and in the words of Torah. We do so with our friends, from the Jewish community and beyond, who care deeply about the state of Israel and its citizens. Who mourn the loss of all the innocent lives taken over the last few days. And we come together to stand in solidarity with our community in Israel. To remind everyone that we are united. United with Israel and united for peace.

Rabbi Jeffrey Goldwasser reminded the crowd that we can find meaning in Torah in these difficult times. “We are obliged to help in any way we can,” he said. “We cannot lose sight of this duty. We are God’s partners.”

Consul General Meron Reuben said that Rhode Island is lucky to have a vibrant group of Israelis. “Knowing your prayers are with us strengthens our resolve.”

Elihay Skital, Rhode Island’s community shaliach (emissary), is from Ashkelon, close to Gaza and one of the places attacked by Hamas. He and Tal Ginzburg, a teacher at the Jewish Community Day School of RI, offered impassioned remarks. Said Skital, “I know I am strong. You are strong. My brothers and sisters in Israel are strong. We didn’t lose our spirit.”

The program concluded with “Hatikvah.”

FRAN OSTENDORF ( is editor of Jewish Rhode Island.

Israel, Alliance