An overflow crowd of almost 600 packed the Monroe Township Senior Center to express support for Israel through song, dance, prayer, and rousing speeches.
The Aug. 10 Israel solidarity gathering, held on the 34th day of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, was organized by Monroe resident Jerry Gordon.
“There’s quite a large Jewish community here in Monroe, and we know there are a number of people quite concerned about Israel,” Gordon told NJJN. “I felt it was quite necessary to do something.”
After he contacted other Monroe residents to assist him, among those to step up were Congregation Beit Shalom president Maurice Mahler, Leonard and Frieda Posnock, Ed and Dorothy Thompson, Wilma Appel, Sheila Farber, Ann Gold, and Tiby Lapkin — whose son, Barak Moore, visiting from Israel, gave a firsthand account of living with red alert warning sirens and the constant threat of attack.
The majority of those attending the event were members of the senior community, although others from the local community also came to give their support. They included all four Monroe rabbis, Eli Perlman of Beit Shalom, Benjamin Levy of Congregation Etz Chaim-Monroe Township Jewish Center, Yehuda Spritzer of Chabad House of Monroe, and Eliezer Zaklikovsky of the Chabad Jewish Center of Monroe.
Moore, a former East Windsor resident now living in the West Bank community of Neve Daniel, said his neighbors endured years of terrorist missile and rocket attacks without retaliating, with the wider world showing little concern.
Moore and his wife, Rachel, consider themselves luckier than residents of Israel’s South, who are more directly in the line of fire from Gaza and who have just 15 seconds to get to a safe room or bomb shelter when the sirens sound. By contrast, the Moores have several minutes.
But that doesn’t mean there is no anxiety. “What happens when your 14-year-old daughter is home with sleeping younger children and she has to get them to a bomb shelter?” asked Moore.
Citing the “culture of death” that seems to permeate Hamas and other radical elements of Islam, Moore downplayed current efforts by the United States and Egypt to broker a peace between Hamas and Israel.
“We don’t need someone behind the scenes working to solve the problem,” said Moore. “We need someone working in front of the scenes.”
Leonard Posnock of Monroe Township, who attended the July 14-20 Campaigners’ Mission to Israel organized by the Jewish Federations of North America, spoke of the wounded IDF soldiers he met in an Israeli hospital.
“The only people who care for us is ourselves,” said Posnock. “Go to Israel. Don’t tell me you can’t walk. Don’t tell me it’s hard on your back. Call the federation. They can put a trip together for you.”