By Senaya Savir, staff writer, @SenayaSavir
The Maryland Israel Coalition organized a vigil on McKeldin Mall on Oct. 19 to bring the Jewish community together to commemorate those who lost their lives during the unrest in Israel.
“We need to condemn bigotry, hatred and incitement, and move forward with thoughts of peace as a community,” said Sam Koralnik, president of the Maryland Israel Coalition.
Saddened by the death and terror in Israel, Koralnik’s immediate response was to create an event where the Jewish student body could unite to get a sense of solidarity for those affected by the terror in Israel.
“I thought we would have a small event, but it became so huge so quickly,” the sophomore government and politics major said, referencing the almost 300 people in attendance. “It really snowballed.”
Dalia Bauman, a freshman finance major and Terps for Israel member, said the vigil was a great way for students on campus to feel connected to what is happening in Israel.
“Every Jewish student on campus knows someone in Israel,” Bauman said. “It’s more than just news, it’s events occurring in our immediate circles.”
Throughout the night, students lit candles to commemorate the lives that were lost, prayed and said tehilim, psalms, for the wounded to recover. The night ended with everyone singing the Israeli national anthem, Hatikva, led by Maryland Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Ari Israel.
Bauman said the vigil was not only important for Jewish students but for non-Jewish students around campus as well.
“When students see a large group of people lighting candles and praying, they’re going to want to know why, and we’re here to tell them,” Bauman said.
The recent attacks brought out people’s political views about the current situation in Israel.
Koralnik said the Palestinian leadership didn’t strongly condemn the recent stabbing attacks on Jewish civilians. “The incitement needs to stop,” he said.
People living outside of Israel cannot even begin to fathom the terrorism Israelis experience, Bauman said.
“Parents are afraid to send their children to school and live in constant fear that someone could come up behind and stab them simply because they’re Jewish,” she said.
“I hope that people felt the need to move forward with feelings of peace in their heart towards the other,” Koralnik said.