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Nearly 2,000 gather for vigil at Temple Emanuel in Denver for Israel


Nearly 2,000 people gathered at Temple Emanuel in Denver on Monday night for a vigil to support Israel and mourn the lives lost in the wake of deadly attacks by Hamas militants that began Saturday.

There were few empty seats at the synagogue at 51 Grape St., including those filled by elected officials such as Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, Jason Crow and Joe Neguse.

“We are devastated yet again to use our walls to hold a community in pain,” Elizabeth Sacks, a senior cantor at Temple Emanuel, told the crowd. “In moments of tragedy that are beyond comprehension, that tear us into pieces and move us to anger and tears and despair, we cannot help but want to be together.”

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 9: Blake Jordan-Borns, 17, wore an Israeli flag and necklace to take part in a prayer vigil for those killed and injured in the recent attacks in Israel on October 9, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. The Denver Jewish community came together amid the attacks on Israel by Hamas over the weekend. The attacks came during Yom Kippur. An estimated 2,000 people gathered at Temple Emanuel Denver to take part in the prayer vigil to honor the lives lost in the attack. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)
DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 9: Blake Jordan-Borns, 17, wore an Israeli flag and necklace to take part in a prayer vigil for those killed and injured in the recent attacks in Israel on October 9, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. The Denver Jewish community came together amid the attacks on Israel by Hamas over the weekend. The attacks came during Yom Kippur. An estimated 2,000 people gathered at Temple Emanuel Denver to take part in the prayer vigil to honor the lives lost in the attack. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Nearly 1,600 people have been killed and thousands more injured in the attacks and retaliatory fighting between Israel and Hamas since Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

Community is what brought Denver resident Summer Burge to the vigil on Monday night.

“You feel like you can’t do anything except pray,” Burge said. “It’s kind of a hopeless feeling.”

Burge said she’s felt alone as she processed the events of the past few days because all of her family on her mother’s side has passed away.

“This is just a way for me to feel like part of a community. It reminds me of my time in Israel, knowing that there are other people who have shared experience and care, people who also feel hopeless or want to do something to make a change. Through prayer, there’s probably something you can do,” she said.

Blake Jordan-Borns draped an Israeli flag across his shoulders as he waited in line to enter the synagogue.

Jordan-Borns, 17, said he’s worried about the friends he made in Israel over the summer on a trip with JEWISHcolorado. He’s been in touch with them but still worried that they are in danger, he said.

“I’m angry there’s not more I can do about it here,” he said. “But I believe Israel will stay strong and we will get through this.”

DeGette told the crowd while this wasn’t the time for a political speech, there is strong support for Israel on both sides of the aisle.

“When we return to Washington tomorrow, we are going to do everything we can in a bipartisan way to give Israel everything it needs to make sure we are together against terrorism,” DeGette said.

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