To show its support for Israel, the students of Emory University hosted a vigil on the school campus on Oct. 11. The community gathered at the corner of Kilgo Circle and Canon Chapel bearing umbrellas as even the downpour couldn’t prevent them from standing in solidarity with Israel.
The event drew people from all walks of life, not just Jews, as the community came out as a sign of unity in the face of international terrorism.
One student, who wished to remain anonymous, commented, “I am not Jewish, but I am here to support my friends.”
Her friend said, “I am Jewish, and I am here to support my extended family.”
The Emory Hillel students helped organize the vigil within just a matter of days. They had just returned from fall break and utilized social media to help get the word out about the event.
Several rabbis, including Rabbi Ilan Schwartz and Rabbi Zalman Lipskier, encouraged the crowds to stay prayerful, peaceful, and supportive of each other.
Pazit Kahlon Shelnutt, professor of Hebrew studies, stated, “I have family in Israel now. My family is from North Africa. All I can do is to pray. They are scared.”
Additionally, Shelnutt commented that people go to volunteer in kibbutzim from all over the world and that “they are still recovering bodies from those kibbutzim, so people from many countries may be in the body counts.”
Toward the end of the event, Rabbi Lipskier, along with the Emory Hillel students, began singing, which drew in more people, and the energy turned to dancing.
For just a few moments, Atlanta Jews could find solace in each other, as the rest of the nation waited for more news updates and information to come out of the Middle East.
Tiffany Parks contributed to this report