The escalating violence in the Gaza Strip is heart breaking, several leaders in the local Jewish and Muslim communities said recently.
And each faith community has held gatherings to offer prayer and calls for peace for those affected by the Middle East hostilities.
A few days before the Fourth of July holiday, many members of the local Jewish faith community held a prayer vigil at Stars and Stripes Park at Lake Hefner. Rabbi Vered Harris, religious leader of Temple B’nai Israel, said the temple joined with members of Emanuel Synagogue to pray for the families of the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and killed, reportedly by the terrorist group Hamas.
She said it is important to note that the Jewish community also prayed for an Arab-American youth who was killed after the three Israeli teens were slain. One of the Israeli teens also had U.S. citizenship.
Friday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Oklahoma chapter held a peace rally on the steps of the state Capitol. Adam Soltani, the chapter’s executive director, said the rally was held “simply calling for peace.”
Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, rabbi of the Chabad Jewish Center of Oklahoma City, said he is very concerned for those directly affected by the violence in the Middle East.
“My heart breaks because I know that every time there are people who cannot see their way to light and love, they cause bloodshed, not only for my brothers in Israel but for others in the Middle East,” he said.
“I definitely pray for each of the boys and girls, men and women who are out there protecting their families and homes,” Goldman said of Israelis. “I know some of them personally and they would much rather be developing all of the technologies and medicines and other things they generally do. They are not soldiers at heart.”
Harris said the Jewish community is “100 percent praying for peace in the entire region.”