Progressive clergy and members were among the thousands of people of all faiths and none who took part in the Together for Humanity vigil in London this Sunday.
Rabbi Rebecca Birk and Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu (pictured above) stood alongside other senior faith leaders as they lit lanterns in a stand against antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate, and to mourn all the civilians who have died in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Rabbi Rebecca said: “This vigil, and its expressions of concern and collaboration, offered hope and strength as we navigate these events. We need such solidarity and shared values – and the lanterns and candles we held in our hands gave a literal and metaphorical light in these dark days.”
Rabbi Shulamit added: “The vigil offered a simple opportunity; we stood together, without slogans or flags. Many of the people I met have dedicated their lives to building bridges and healing from their grief.
“It was a moment to take back the conversation, into the centre, away from extremism, and to focus on ordinary people who are so deeply affected here in the UK. I hope that the vigil will inspire us in our small acts of courage in our everyday lives.”
The event also featured speeches from family members bereaved by the conflict, both Israeli and Palestinian, as well as British politicians of all parties.
Magen Inon, whose parents were both killed in Israel by Hamas in the terrorist attacks of 7 October, spoke at the event.
He said: “It is unbelievable that, while mourning the murder of both my parents, I have to witness extremists use our grief and tragedy to promote their hatred. This wouldn’t have been my parents’ wish.
“They would have wanted the society in which their grandchildren grow up to be based on those of humanity and solidarity. It is up to us to continue their legacy – for them, for us, and for our children.”
Progressive Judaism Co-Lead Rabbi Charley Baginsky praised the diversity of voices speaking out at the vigil and their messages of hope and togetherness.
She said: “Let’s lift up the voices of those who understand we can hold multiple truths, that the world is complex, that nuance exists and that we can still stand together and hold each other in grief and hope that another reality can exist.”