ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A solidarity gathering for Israel brought out a standing-room-only crowd to the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis County on Wednesday.
Candles were lit and prayers said for the victims of the unprecedented attack on Israel. More than 1,000 people have died since Hamas, a militant group that controls Gaza, launched attacks against Israel last weekend.
“I think there’s a yearning to be together,” said Abby Kelman, an attendee. She said her daughter lives in Tel Aviv and is terrified right now.
Snir Dagan was one of the speakers. The Israeli native has lost friends in the attack. He says the violence against Israel has had a ripple effect on the Jewish community in St. Louis.
“It’s our friends. It’s our families. It’s our communities that were just slaughtered,” said Dagan.
The Jewish Federation of St. Louis is directing anyone wanting to support victims to an emergency fund. Click here for more information on the fund.
“What happened this weekend crosses all boundaries,” said Brian Herstig, president and CEO, Jewish Federation of St. Louis.
A representative from the St. Louis field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigations attended Wednesday’s gathering to express condolences.
Supervisory Special Agent Joe Weston supervises the squad that investigates hate crimes. He encourages anyone who suspects a hate crime has been committed to report the incident to their local police and the FBI.
“Go with your gut and make the report to law enforcement,” said Weston.
For more information about how to respond to hate crimes, click here.