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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Diaspora Interfaith Memorial Service for Our Boys

A memorial service was held for the slain Israeli teenagers in historic Mikveh Israel, the synagogue of Chaym Solomon, a Revolutionary War hero.
Rabbi Albert Gabbai of Mikveh Israel and Rector Timmothy Stafford of Christ Church in Philadelphia both spoke at Philadelphia's memorial service for the slain Israeli teenagers on July 1, 2014.

Rabbi Albert Gabbai of Mikveh Israel and Rector Timmothy Stafford of Christ Church in Philadelphia both spoke at Philadelphia's memorial service for the slain Israeli teenagers on July 1, 2014.
Photo Credit: Lori Lowenthal Marcus

On this anniversary of the birth of the American Republic, it is fitting to bring attention to a memorial service held for Eyal Ifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel which took place in Philadelphia, in the Mikveh Israel Synagogue, the synagogue of an American Revolutionary hero, Haym Solomon.

On Tuesday evening, July 1, the day after the Jewish world learned that the three kidnapped Israeli boys had been murdered, Jews all over the world rushed to be together.

An organization of Israelis who now live in Philadelphia and a synagogue with both fiercely American and Israeli ties, immediately decided that Mikveh Israel would be the host of a gathering of local lovers of Israel to honor the memory of the three boys and to show their respect to the families of those slain teens.

Sharona Durry, the founder and head of Philly Israel, organized the event with the help of Mikveh Israel’s Rabbi Albert Gabbai.

Sharona Durry, the head of Philly Israel and organizer of the memorial service for the slain Israeli teenagers held at Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia on July 1, 2014.

Sharona Durry, the head of Philly Israel and organizer of the memorial service for the slain Israeli teenagers held at Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia on July 1, 2014.

Durry posted on the group’s Facebook page a message of sorrow and solidarity.

PhillyIsrael wishes to express our agony, our horror and our deepest regret that three innocent boys on their way home from school were murdered in a senseless act of terror. These boys were our boys. These families are our families. This loss is our loss.

Yaron Sideman, Israel’s Consul General for the mid-Atlantic region which includes Philadelphia, quickly agreed to speak at the event. The word went out and more than 250 people showed up to pay their respects and express solidarity.

In addition to words of comfort and strength by Rabbi Gabbai and Consul General Sideman, the executive director of the Greater Philadelphia District of the Zionist Organization of America, Steve Feldman, spoke, as did the president-elect of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Bud Newman.

Steve Feldman, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia District of the Zionist Organization of America was one of the speakers at the memorial service for the slain Israeli teenagers held at Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia on July 1, 2014.

Steve Feldman, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia District of the Zionist Organization of America was one of the speakers at the memorial service for the slain Israeli teenagers held at Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia on July 1, 2014.

The rector of Christ Church, Timothy Safford, read the traditional prayer read at funerals,Psalm 23, during the service. Mikveh Israel and Christ Church are on opposite ends of the same city block in the historic east side of Philadelphia, and the two religious institutions hold many events together.

During the memorial service, one woman was visibly emotional. Ayellet Yaron is from Philadelphia, not Israel, but after the service she explained her tears: “Every Jewish life is so important. We lost a part of our future. For over two weeks we’ve said tehillim and held rallies, hoping our boys would return. And now we know they won’t.”

Orly Gabbay leaned forward to say that she studied in a school just a few minutes from where the boys were taken, the Migdal Oz Seminary. One of the things she has found so frustrating is the way the western media focused on the boys hitchhiking, as if that somehow placed part of the blame on them.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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13 Responses to “Diaspora Interfaith Memorial Service for Our Boys”

  1. Condolence God bles israel.

  2. Yes Am Yisrael Chai

  3. Gene Strong says:

    Why ?
    Liberal American Jews are hypocrites and traitors and enemies of Israel and america…Liberal American Jews support Obama , a Muslim and enemy of Israel and america…Jews also helped Hitler rise to power…How gullible are Jews ?

  4. however, in the Torah,God is very strict against mixing of Israeli or Jewish worship with that of the neighboring nation’s religion, forbids even etermarriage for fear of influenced from those of religion of the nations around them, not making any covenant with them. interfaith is unheard off in the Torah. God is called in the Torah as a Holy God ,means pure or clean, free from contamination of any religious falsehood. Well, of course, now there are so many form of Judaisms such as REFORM, ORTHODOXES, AND HARIDIM…etc..

  5. Have my sympathy. Love you Israel and will always do.

  6. Forget the Torah sasil Philly people G-D bless you all

  7. Diosdado sasil don’t be A moron if you don’t like it don’t go stop parching

  8. Ronnie Pleet says:

    Caring people together.beautiful meaningful service.thank all who err there .thank you Sharona

  9. Ronnie Pleet says:

    Caring people together.beautiful meaningful service.thank all who err there .thank you Sharona

  10. Return to the GOD Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

  11. Wish I could have been there. God bless Israel.

  12. Bryan Sehn says:

    May the G-d of Israel prosper you and give you Shalom in this time of need!

  13. Everyone should come together to mourn such senseless violence.

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