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lördag, november 11, 2023

’Shabbat for Gaza’ goals to carry Montrealers collectively amid tensions

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As tensions over the Israel-Hamas warfare proceed to be felt in Montreal, a Shabbat service in solidarity with Gaza was held Friday in an effort to carry folks collectively.

Held at a Greek group centre on Parc Ave., the occasion was promoted as interfaith and open to anybody who wished to affix. It included the lighting of candles, singing of conventional prayers and sharing of challah bread.

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“It’s been a very troublesome and tragic week,” mentioned organizer Aaron Lakoff, referring to incidents that befell in Montreal this week. “However I feel we are able to carry the tensions down by creating areas of solidarity.”

Earlier this week, a synagogue was firebombed within the West Island and two Jewish faculties have been focused by gunfire. A conflict between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian teams at Concordia College additionally led to a number of accidents.

Montreal police, in the meantime, have reported an increase within the variety of hate incidents affecting each Muslim and Jewish teams for the reason that outbreak of the warfare.

Hosted by Unbiased Jewish Voices, Friday’s occasion was described as an opportunity to face in solidarity with Palestinians and for folks to collect to demand a ceasefire.

Arts and crafts tables have been set-up for attendees to work on posters for future demonstrations and thick pamphlets explaining the historical past of the Israeli–Palestinian battle have been made out there.

Individuals might additionally fill out postcards to ship to their native members of Parliament. The playing cards every had a reflective floor. “Ship a mirror to your MP to allow them to take an excellent, arduous have a look at themselves,” directions learn.

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Many younger households and kids have been in attendance. Everybody was inspired to share no matter feelings they have been feeling over the battle.

“I’m Jewish …. and really feel actually sick about what’s taking place in Gaza proper now,” mentioned Cee Strauss, who attended with their younger youngster.

“So when a pal of mine mentioned there was a Shabbat for Gaza, it felt good,” Strauss added. “As a result of it’s one thing I might carry my child to, and in addition be in a group to specific our grief and rage.”

Greater than 10,000 folks have been killed in army strikes in Gaza by Israel since Hamas first attacked on Oct. 7. About 1,200 folks in Israel have been killed, and one other 240 have been taken hostage.

Corey Balsam, the nationwide coordinator for Unbiased Jewish Voices, mentioned he needed the occasion to be a spot the place folks might come collectively and talk about with out rigidity.

“We needed to point out that this isn’t about Jews versus Muslims or Jews versus Palestinians,” he mentioned. “There are numerous, many Jews who’re in help of Palestinians.”

As for the incidents in Montreal this week, as a father of two younger youngsters, Balsam mentioned it was scary to see faculties focused by gunfire.

He understands tensions are excessive, however believes native politicians becoming a member of the requires a ceasefire might additionally go a great distance in stopping the violence seen regionally.

He was inspired by an open letter printed Friday by a number of present and former elected officers in Quebec calling for as a lot.

“Persons are questioning what to do. There are discussions of banning protests, however  I feel that’s the very last thing that ought to be finished,” Balsam mentioned.

“As a result of folks want an outlet to specific themselves,” he added. “And we want the federal government to hear.”


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