1,050 Pack Israel Solidarity Gathering (July 16, 2014)
About the Event
Spontaneous, loud and proud, the crowd of 1,050 opened our Israel Solidarity Gathering by singing Am Yisrael Chai on Wednesday night at B’nai Torah Congregation, with signs proclaiming “We Stand with Israel.” On just a few days’ notice, for the second time in a few weeks, our Jewish Community Relations Council gathered a large group to rise with one voice and stand together in anxiety, outrage, tears, strength and unwavering support for the State of Israel and our Jewish family there.
The gathering formed a sea of blue and white, with a myriad of caring, committed Jewish neighbors representing the vibrant diversity of ages, backgrounds, observance and neighborhoods in South Palm Beach County’s Jewish community today. As Federation Board Chair Al Gortz said, it was unmistakable that this was one of those moments for which our Federation has been built.
To the hushed crowd, Rabbi David Steinhardt (B’nai Torah), Rabbi Robert Silvers (Congregation B’nai Israel) and our Jacobson Jewish Community Foundation Chair Richard Steinberg spoke of their gripping recent experiences in Israel under siege. As Silvers spoke, an air raid siren sounded through an app on his phone that issues a life-saving alert whenever a rocket is launched over Israel. Rabbis Greg Weisman (Temple Beth El) and Philip Moskowitz (Boca Raton Synagogue) led us in prayer, and Cantor Benjamin Tisser (B’nai Torah) raised our voices and ruach. The Gathering also heard from Consul General Chaim Shacham and, through a riveting video, from IDF soldier Ron Bronstein about the irony of waking to sirens as his alarm goes off, and how much our support means to those living through the rockets’ rain of terror on much of our homeland.
Federation President & CEO Matt Levin spoke about our historic obligation here in the American diaspora to see that our family in Israel also lives in peace with security - including our responsibility to advocate for the continued special strategic relationship of the United States and Israel.
Levin also emphasized our critical role in ensuring the significant humanitarian aid needed by the people of Israel during these terror attacks and in their eventual aftermath. He congratulated and thanked the South Palm Beach County Jewish community for, in a matter of days, quickly contributing nearly $300,000 in all sizes of donations to the Federation’s new Israel Emergency Campaign. Part of a broad national effort, this campaign ensures that 100% of donations are directed on the ground in Israel where they are most needed. Of course, continued help is needed as the physical and psychological damage continues to require urgent social services, financial assistance, counseling and more.
Click here to donate to the Israel Emergency Campaign
Click here to read remarks delivered at the Israel Solidarity Gathering by Matthew C. Levin, President & CEO of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County
Click here to view a video of 1,050 people spontaneously singing Am Yisrael Chai at the start of the Gathering
Click here to view Channel 25 television coverage
Click here to read the powerful statement of support from Members of Congress Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel