DC Mayor Bowser, religious leaders offer support to Jewish community at packed vigil

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser joined rabbis and leaders of the Jewish community at a packed vigil for Israel, WTOP's Dick Uliano reports.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser joined more than two dozen rabbis, 15 cantors and other leaders of the Jewish community at a packed vigil for Israel on Tuesday evening at Adas Israel Congregation in Cleveland Park.

Every seat was filled in the sanctuary, with some attendees sitting on the floor to hear leaders speak.

Small blue and white Israeli flags hung from the crowded balcony and a blue and white projection covered the front of the synagogue.

“We recognize that the acts of terrorism are unfolding nearly 6,000 miles away. But we know the pain and impact is right here in this room and in our city. I want to extend my sympathy and solidarity to everyone who was hurting and living in fear these past four days,” Bowser said.

As the death toll continues to rise as the fighting between Israel and Hamas fighters persists, Bowser offered unequivocal support to the congregation.

“We stand together to emphatically reject terrorism in all its forms, and to say with one voice that antisemitism has no place in our institutions, our country, our world or our hearts,” she said.

Vigils have been held at synagogues throughout the D.C. region this week as Jewish people come together to offer strength and guidance during this time of crisis.

Adas Senior Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt spoke in front of her congregation, saying, “We are a family in deep pain. We are mourning. We are cracked open.”

“Each tragic loss of life, each hostage taken, each wounded person is not just another number, but an entire world,” she added. “But we are not broken. We will never despair because no evil force can break thousands of years of communal resilience. Resilience is our birthright, it’s in our DNA.”

Some of the mourners wept.

By the end of the service, congregants were on their feet as cantors sang “Ams Yisrael Chai,” or “The People of Israel Live.”

On Friday, the drive for Jewish solidarity will move outdoors.

A Stand With Israel rally is scheduled Friday at 12:15 p.m. at Freedom Plaza at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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