Austinites gather to show solidarity for Israel


The Agudas Achim Congregation in northwest Austin was completely filled this Monday, Oct. 10. It was standing room only as attendees shuffled into the synagogue and numerous temporary overflow rooms. The guests touted Israeli flags and custom “I stand with Israel” t-shirts in order to show their solidarity with the lives lost in the ongoing conflict in Israel. The local organization, Shalom Austin, organized this vigil in order to raise awareness and show support for the onslaught of murders and kidnappings in Israel due to the surprise attack from the terrorist organization Hamas as they started a systemic campaign to kill all Jewish inhabitants in Israel. 

Many of the attendees of the vigil had personal stories and connections to the conflict including an Israeli immigrant whose grandfather was killed in cold blood on Sunday. Two members of the congregation held custom signs with the faces of their family members and friends currently in Israel, one of them went missing and the other was killed all in the span of this tumultuous weekend. Even some Westlake students had personal stories related to the conflict.

“Over the summer I went to Israel and visited a Kibbutz (community) along the Gaza border, and yesterday I learned that 15 members of that Kibbutz were killed from a Hamas missile,” senior Zack Newman, who was in attendance at the vigil, said.

 Also in attendance were a number of federal, state, and local government officials including Governor Greg Abbot, Austin Mayor Kirk Watson and Congressman Lloyd Doggett, all who gave speeches displaying their support for Israel and their right to defend themselves.

“Let there be peace. We stand with Israel,” Austin Mayor Kirk Watson said.

Westlake students are interviewed for a local news station at the Agudas Achim congregation on Monday

“It is like the Holocaust. There is no other side. There are no alternative facts. It must be eradicated,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett said.

 Abbott announced a 4 million dollar grant to local Jewish communities to strengthen security as the war wages and local antisemitic events grow. A rise of defamatory events usually happens during a war like this one, and Abbott believes that Synagogues and Jewish meeting places should be properly protected. He also ordered that all flags be flown at half mast, and that no state organizations can buy products produced or exported from the Gazan territory.

Many participants of the event had no connection with Israel or the Jewish community and instead came to show their support and solidarity for those who do. These attendees included different interfaith religious leaders along with the president of the Central Texas Interfaith Alliance. Along with this, a group of secular Anderson High School students came by to show their unanimity.

“We have a very diverse group of people coming from all political spectrums, coming from various walks of life, who recognize that loss of life, and loss of life of non-combatants and civilians is intolerable,” Chief Rabbi of Agudis Achim Rabbi Neil Blumofe said.

As the war wages on and more and more lives are lost, vigils and rallies like these will continue to happen as the American population show their support for Israel. Thousands of events like this one occurred all over the country over the weekend and millions of dollars have been raised in order to support the Israeli Defense Force. If you would like to show your own support, many organizations like the Jewish National Fund or the Anti-defamation League are accepting donations at this time.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All THE FEATHERDUSTER Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.