The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

CJU and Students Organize Vigil in Response to Attack on Israel

The Colgate University Jewish Union (CJU) alongside fellow students hosted a vigil on Wednesday, Oct. 11, following the Hamas attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7. Students and community members gathered on the Academic Quad in front of the Colgate Memorial Chapel in a moment of remembrance and heard reflections from CJU leaders and other students. 

Senior Jackson Fox, in partnership with the CJU, led the efforts to organize the event. Fox also spoke at the vigil. 

It’s important to come together this evening to be there for people who are hurting, both here and thousands of miles away,” Fox said. “While there may be a large physical distance between us and Israel, the people remain close in our hearts tonight.”

Fox spoke about the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict and recognized the insecurity of the region, stating why Colgate students chose to gather there that night. 

“We are here tonight for those who can’t be. It’s a privilege to be Jewish in America. Our ancestors moved here looking for a better life, fleeing religious persecution. After 2,000 years of diaspora, the Jewish people have only had a home for the last 75 years,” Fox said. “When we contextualize this, we realize that Israel is still trying to find their footing as a home for Jews across the world. By coming together here tonight, we recognize the fragility of the region and its critical importance to our people. The attack on Israel is an attack on anyone who believes in this philosophy. This is why we have come together tonight, to support those who are hurting.”

Senior Grace Lieberman had the initial idea to organize the event and got in contact with Fox. Together, they reached out to the CJU who agreed to help host it. Lieberman also spoke at the event. 

“As you all know, what is going on in Israel is disheartening and appalling, and I want to share my love and support for the Jewish people during a time of tragedy and terrorism,” Lieberman said. “Today, we pray for peace and safety in Israel and send our love and condolences to the people in both Israel and Gaza living in violence and fear. I also want to express my support and appreciation for the Israeli soldiers risking their lives for the Jewish people. I know many of my peers here at Colgate have friends and family fighting.”

Lieberman asked her peers to put aside politics as they gathered in remembrance.

“I hope that today, everyone can put aside political views and separate the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the terrorism occurring in this region to stand in solidarity with those who are being persecuted and killed on the basis of their religion,” Lieberman said. “I pray for peace and safety in Israel. Thank you all for being here to show your support and solidarity for my community.”

Sophomore Matthew Sherter, co-president of the CJU, added his remarks.

“This past Saturday morning, on Shabbat Simchat Torah, Hamas, a terrorist group, launched an attack on Israel and the Jewish people. These holidays are supposed to be days that are celebrated and cherished and instead Jews in Israel and around the world are grieving and are scared of what is yet to come,” Sherter said. “We come together tonight to mourn the loss of human life due to these attacks. In unison, we hope and pray for a new day when all people, both in Israel and elsewhere, can live in peace and security. May we wish for this day to come speedily and soon.”

Colgate University President Brian W. Casey also attended the event.

“I thought it was much needed,” Casey said. “When you have moments like that — a tragedy of such scale — that touches people directly, the notion that you gather seems totally human.”

Casey applauded the students and acknowledged the difficulty of leading such an event. 

“It was very clear to me that these were students speaking to students, and that’s really hard to do, and I thought they did it incredibly well.”

Casey was touched by the vigil and left feeling a sense of pride for the students involved. 

“I really thought they were brilliant […]. I have to say I walked away very sad but incredibly proud of the students.”

CJU Co-President and sophomore Alisha Greenstein encouraged students to utilize support systems the campus community provides. 

“I want to say that there is support on this campus. Please reach out to someone if you are in distress. There are so many resources at Colgate,” Greenstein said. “Let’s support each other as Jews, supporters of the Jewish people, and most importantly, as Colgate students. Let’s pray that this comes to an end soon.”

Students grappling with the recent events, as Greenstein mentioned, can find support at the Colgate Counseling Center.

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About the Contributors
Ellie Weber
Ellie Weber, News Editor
Ellie Weber is a junior from New York, NY concentrating in political science. She has previously served as a staff writer for the News section. On campus, Ellie is involved in the Comedy Sketch Club.
Mary Grygier
Mary Grygier, Photo Editor
Mary Grygier is a senior from Ridgewood, NJ concentrating in psychology and film & media studies. She has previously served as a contributing photographer. On campus, Mary is involved in the Athletics Department, Club Soccer, and is a member of a Greek letter organization.

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