Candlelight Vigil: “The People Of Israel Live”

As darkness fell last night, over 300 Westporters lit Jesup Green with candles.

In the chill October air they stood shoulder to shoulder in support of Israel, and prayed for the safe return of hostages held by Hamas.

They gathered, Rev. Heather Sinclair of the United Methodist Church said, for “comfort, support and reassurance,” and in “sadness, grief, anger, fear and frustration.”

Rabbi Yehudah Kantor of Chabad of Westport and Weston noted, “Some rise up in arms. We rise up by linking arms.”

They sang the Israeli national anthem, and America’s.

They observed a moment of silence. And then, spontaneously, they sang “Am Yisrael Chai.” The words mean: “the people of Israel live.”

The vigil was non-partisan. No politicians spoke.

But the words of the multi-faith clergy — and the size of the crowd — spoke volumes.

(From left): Rabbi Greg Wall of Beit Chaverim, Rabbi Michael Friedman of Temple Israel and Rev. Heather Sinclair of the United Methodist Church, before the vigil.

Organizers of the vigil distributed flyers of many of the 200 hostages held by Hamas. Like other Westporters, Lauren Soloff and Wes Malowitz (above) have relatives and friends in Israel.

Staples High School seniors Jeremy Rosenkranz (left) and Eitan Eiger.

Andrew Colabella, during the national anthem.

(From left): Police Chief Foti Koskinas, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Bill Mitchell. Westport Police provided security for the event.

(All photos/Dan Woog)

9 responses to “Candlelight Vigil: “The People Of Israel Live”

  1. I received this morning, from an Israeli cousin, a report from, detailing the reports from the Israeli Forensic Pathology Center, on the victims of Hamas’s atrocities on October 7, accompanied by graphic images of charred bodies and body parts.
    These images are as horrifying – if not in scale -as anything the world has seen from the Nazi murder camps. I cannot in good conscience forward the article or the images and I am still in a state of shock.
    However the world needs to see proof of these atrocities, most of all those who squarely place the blame on Israel!

  2. Thank you to all who made this happen.

  3. Thank you to those who organized this vigil. What an incredible turnout, it’s so important to stay connected.

  4. perhaps asking for essays on a solution to this problem might be helpful. I don’t know how this ends

  5. God bless.

  6. God bless

  7. Hi Dan,

    There are so many great things about 06880. I really appreciate your BIG contribution to the community. One of the things I really appreciate about what you write is that you always seem to be fair and balanced. Which is so great. I wonder if you might see if there is any activity in Westport/area by Jewish Peace Activists. Rabbi Alissa Wise? Perhaps the local religious community ? Jewish Voice For Peace ? IfNotNow ? “Us versus them” attitudes ( Israeli vs. Arabs or Hamas or Palestinians ) is no solution in my mind. I am hoping there is some activity in the religious community perhaps?
    As I drive around Westport and see all the lawn signs with the Israeli flag, I feel like it is very much “us versus them” , one party against another. It feels like “we support Israel and are against anyone who doesn’t” . I think if this mentality persists, there will be no road to peace.

    Thankyou for your consideration.

    Gay Luster

    • Dermot Meuchner

      Ms. Luster I wish you luck with that. You could also add Miko Peled, Adam Broomberg, Btselem. But you’re proverbially pissing in the wind, pardon the slang.

      • Let’s be clear about what organizations like JVP and B’Tselem want: not a two state solution; they want the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state. The idea that promoting their ideology is somehow promoting peace is laughable: “give up your country and there will be peace…otherwise, the resistance continues.”

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