ST. LOUIS – As the war between Israel and Hamas rages on, St. Louisans again showed their support for the Jewish community on Sunday.
Dozens of people gathered near Forest Park to hold a solidarity rally and silent prayer to pay tribute to the innocent people who have lost their lives. The group drew looks and honks along Skinker Boulevard as people of Christian, Jewish, and other faiths stood in solidarity.
Karen Sher, vice president of community impact for the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, said it’s bigger than supporting Israel.
“This is not just about the Jewish community. This is about humanity,” Sher said.
Other demonstrators agreed.
“This is not a protest against Palestinians,” Tami Flick said. “We love Palestinians. We pray for Jews, Palestinians. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
Dozens of people attended the rally, which Civil Righteousness and the Jewish Federation hosted in front of the former United Hebrew Congregation Synagogue late on Sunday afternoon. Their mission was to show unity in a time of great division.
Jonathan Tremaine Thomas, director of Civil Righteousness and a local pastor, expressed his sadness over the recent rise in antisemitism.
“I never thought I’d see the day in America where saying that you’re praying for peace in Jerusalem would be controversial,” Thomas said.
Thomas said it’s time Christians stand loud and proud in support of Israel.
“The Christian community has always had a deep relationship with the Jewish community, and particularly, the Black community has had a shared history with the Jewish people,” Thomas said. “They stood with us in the 60s, so we need to be bold and stand with them at this time.”
The group also paid respect to the people who lost their lives in Hamas’ brutal attack two weeks ago with a silent prayer. Demonstrators put tape over their moths with words of support written over them.
The idea was to stand in silence and prayer with those who can no longer speak for themselves. Sher said it’s a reminder that this war was not something Israel or the Jewish community asked for.
“This isn’t a fight against the Palestinian people or the Arabs,” Sher said. “This is a fight against a terrorist organization that has taken over two million Palestinians. Governing them, ruling them, and using them as human shields.”
Sher said their message is clear.
“We have to stand up to fight against terrorism, to fight for democracy,” Sher said. “And to fight for the lives of innocent people.”
Organizers said they are just getting started. To learn more about their efforts, you can go to STLforIsrael.com.