WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The Jewish community in D.C. is mourning the hundreds of people killed in Israel.
On Monday night, dozens came together at Washington Hebrew Congregation in Cathedral Heights for a vigil. Through prayer and song, people stood together in solidarity with the people of Israel.
Almost everyone who attended had some connection to family or friends in Israel, making the news of war that much more difficult for those in the local Jewish community.
“It’s really hard in Israel right now, everybody is dealing with the same pain and grief and fear,” said Rabbi Sue Shankman.
For those who have visited Israel or have family and friends there, the past few days have been difficult.
“I was sitting in my seat tonight and I was shaking. It was like the most emotion I’ve ever felt. I didn’t know what to do,” said Lauren Chase.
Emotions were running high after terrorist group Hamas killed hundreds of Jews this weekend, Ron Halber said, in an unprovoked massacre.
“They must pay a price. They must suffer and be destroyed,” Halber said.
Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said the loss is unfathomable.
“I’m still trying to grasp in my head that 900 people were killed in a modern-day slaughter in the state of Israel that was aimed at killing Jews.”
Through grief, congregants say it’s comforting for the community to come together, and something that needs to happen.
“A lot of people in our community have different stances when it comes to Israel and what should happen and what can happen,” said Rick Woler. But I think when something like this does occur, it is really important for us to come together and stand for the state of Israel.”
Jewish leaders are planning more vigils and rallies throughout the week.
Halber said more than 100 people serving in the Israeli Defense Forces have family in the D.C. area.