BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Members of the Jewish community and other supporters joined together at Temple Beth El Tuesday night to stand in solidarity with Israel and to mourn those lost in the attacks Saturday that left hundreds dead.
Rabbi Jonathan Klein led the vigil, saying it was important to give this community a chance to grieve such a huge loss of life.
“We have such a strong tie to the land, to its people. They’re our family. We are one big family and even though we are very happily living in Kern County and in Bakersfield, we know that our brothers and our sisters and generations of our ancestors were living in that land, are living in that land, are our hearts are absolutely crushed by what’s happening,” Klein said.
Multiple prayers were read during the vigil, one by Kern resident, Larry Zanoff, who lived in Israel for 18 years and served in the military. Zanoff said he has friends he has not been able to contact since the attacks and fears the worst.
“It’s hard not knowing, we hope for the best but it’s very difficult,” Zanoff said. “Unfortunately in that part of the world it’s the reality of life.”
That reality was in the minds of all, as more and more prayers filled the room.
“We are desperate for knowing that people care about our loss in some ways what’s worse than the death is the isolation that many are experiencing with it. It’s just so painful. You don’t have to go far to see grieving families, or the grief of people being dragged across the border to Gaza against their will, I mean there are these images I’ll never get out of my head, and we need to support one another,” said Klein.
Support, Zanoff shares, that the Jewish community could use from all during this time.
“This is not a Jewish issue. This is humanity and if you’re part of humanity and if you believe in God, whatever God you believe in, the tenets are the same,” Zanoff said. “It’s not about violence it’s about supporting each other and trying to bring community together.”