Over 300 college students, workers, college and neighborhood members gathered at Meyer Inexperienced Sunday night to honor the lives misplaced in Israel this weekend, throughout a candlelight vigil held by Stanford Israel Affiliation (SIA) and Hillel.
“I grew to become instantly very frightened,” mentioned SIA co-president Andrei Mandelshtam ’25, who stayed awake till the early morning hours after calling his kin in Israel following information of the Oct. 7 assault on Israel by Hamas, a Palestinian militant group. “After I wakened the following morning at 10 a.m., issues had been a lot worse. I’m at all times simply messaging everybody I do know and hoping that each one of this terror would finish.”
Hamas’s assault was launched on the Tribe of Nova music pageant, which was held to rejoice the Jewish vacation of Sukkot.
AP Information reported that over 1,500 individuals had been killed: 900 in Israel and practically 700 in Gaza, in line with authorities from every space. Over 150 persons are reported to have been taken captive from Israel and held in Gaza as hostages in retaliation for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.
State senator Josh Becker MBA ’98 J.D. ’99, who’s the vice-chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus and represents the Stanford space, mentioned he prayed for a secure return for all kidnapped Israelis.
The organizers of the vigil handed out Israeli flags, held a second of silence and invited neighborhood members to mild candles. They projected a compilation of movies with clips from the assaults and media protection from largely pro-Israel organizations.
Nourya Cohen ’24 mentioned that a number of the movies would “hang-out [her] perpetually.”
Proper after receiving information of the assaults Friday evening, SIA co-president Hannah Levin ’25 mentioned she referred to as one in every of her kin, who survived the Holocaust throughout World Battle II and now lives in Israel, to examine on her security.
“I’m not going to neglect what she mentioned, ‘Hannah, I feel a conflict is coming,’” Levin mentioned. “For somebody to have survived these issues and to say this, that’s very scary.”
The vigil’s intentions had been apolitical and meant to mourn the Israelis who had been murdered and kidnapped within the Hamas assaults over the weekend, Levin mentioned.
“That is solely a human concern,” Levin mentioned. “Don’t sponsor violence of any sort. It doesn’t matter for no matter purpose. Killing of any sort isn’t alright. By no means.”
When Mandelshtam messaged his cousin who lives close to Tel Aviv after the assault and didn’t obtain a response till half-hour later, he mentioned that the half hour was “one of the crucial stressed-out moments of [his] life.”
“I’m really grateful that [my cousin] is okay however I do know that many others are usually not,” Mandelshtam mentioned. “The vigil tonight has been for them and I really feel the ache and lack of each Israeli, each single individual that has been unjustly captured, each single rape, torture, homicide and abduction that has occurred all through this traumatic occasion.”
Dmitri Skvortsov ’25, an SIA board member, mentioned he believes violence ought to by no means be justified.
“It’s simply devastating to me to see how individuals on social media can simply justify violence by calling this factor ‘decolonization,’ however you need to by no means justify terrorist assaults as a result of they’re all the identical,” Skvortsov mentioned. “It’s all about violence. It’s all about making individuals scared, making individuals really feel threatened and there’s no justification for that.”
Since Hamas seized management of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel has imposed a restrictive blockade on the area’s imports and emigration. Israel bombed the Palestinian enclave of Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’s assault on Israeli cities, the deadliest incursion in 50 years.
“I really feel prefer it’s very onerous for some individuals to narrate by way of like, ‘What’s the dimensions of this? You understand, Israel has bombs on a regular basis. How is that this totally different?’” Levin mentioned. “That is 9/11 in Israel.”
In accordance with scholar organizers, planning for the candlelight vigil started that afternoon — together with distributing information of the occasion on social media. Zach Weinstein, a Jewish scholar at San Francisco State, mentioned he drove down from San Francisco to attend after studying concerning the vigil by means of Instagram.
Weinstein, with an Israeli flag draped over his again, shared a quote from his rabbi and inspired attendees of the vigil to coach these round them on Israel and Jewish historical past. “Prayers don’t change issues. Prayers change individuals and folks change issues,” Weinstein mentioned.
Rabbi Jessica Kirschner from Hillel thanked the organizers and attendees for exhibiting “solidarity right here as a Stanford neighborhood,” which she mentioned was essential “to know that we’re not alone. Not alone as Israelis. Not alone as Jews. Not alone as Stanford college students.”
Kirschner mentioned that whereas many attendees “carry Israel in [their] pockets, it is very important take breaks and … there are assets accessible at Hillel and the Workplace of Spiritual and Religious Life.”
“We’re stronger after we stand collectively,” Kirschner mentioned. “We’re right here for all of you and all of us are right here for one another.”