NEW YORK - In a display of resilience and solidarity, Jewish New Yorkers gathered for Shabbat services at Temple Emanu-El under heavy security following the recent deadly attack by Hamas in Israel.
Many in the congregation have been directly affected by the violence, but Rabbi Joshua Davidson of Temple Emanu-El sought to offer comfort during these trying times.
He emphasized that "God stands with the innocent and the victims, not with the aggressors. Those who commit these atrocious acts, even in the name of faith, do not represent any God we believe in."
New York City Mayor Eric Adams was also present to show support for the Jewish community, highlighting that the city has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel. He stated, "If you don't feel safe here, where else can you feel safe?"
For those attending the service, the physical distance from Israel did not diminish their connection. Sharon Crowley, reporting from the Upper East Side, noted that many expressed that "even though they are thousands of miles away, their hearts and minds remain with Israel."
Rabbi Joshua Davidson reaffirmed the importance of holding the service, stating, "If hundreds of thousands can mobilize in defense of our people, then we can come together to pray for them."
The service focused on the congregation's solidarity with Israel, and Rabbi Davidson aimed to console those directly impacted by the violence. He reminded members of the rich and resilient history of the Jewish people.
In a message of hope, Rabbi Davidson concluded, "God stands with the innocent and the victims, not with the aggressors. Those who commit these atrocious acts, even in the name of faith, do not represent any God we believe in."
Mayor Adams announced his plan to attend Friday night services at Temple Emanu-El, reinforcing the public's support for the Jewish community.
As New Yorkers gathered for Shabbat, it was a moment to stand together and find strength in unity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.