RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s been one month now since the initial Hamas attack on Southern Israel that killed at least 1,400 people with hundreds more taken hostage.
Several families in the Triangle said the attack on Oct. 7 created deep pain for many, especially for families with loved ones directly impacted by the ongoing violence overseas.
On Tuesday afternoon, a few dozen people gathered for a rally in downtown Raleigh’s Moore Square carrying flags, signs and yellow ribbons to call for more than 200 hostages to be freed and for the violence to end. Around 6 p.m., the group marched through the downtown area while chanting, “Bring them home now!”
Stanley and Marion Robboy of Chapel Hill were among the many voices making sure North Carolina continues to show support and spread awareness. Stanley said, “There are so many families with friends here that have family in Israel that have been affected.” Marion continued, “We have to make sure people don’t forget.”
The couple said they’ve lost family and loved ones while others have remained in captivity. Marion said, “After Oct. 7, everyone was in unison and they realized what happened. In the meantime, things have changed. People are getting apathetic or deterred and we’ve seen an incredible rise in antisemitism—especially in universities.”
Rabbi Eric Solomon with Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh said he’s witnessed the ongoing local support within the congregation and throughout the Triangle. He said members of the synagogue continue to pray for families and relatives who have been taken hostage. A number of students in their religious school have also sent hand-written notes to soldiers on the front lines.
“We have been through a month of trauma, and we are in mourning. We’re grieving and we’re praying, and we are resilient,” said Rabbi Solomon. He added, “This is uncharted territory for us, including me as a rabbi, but no one is going to be left alone.”
Rabbi Solomon said he hopes that support will be even more visible overseas. Solomon will be joining 10-15 other rabbis from across the country who will be headed to Israel this upcoming weekend. He said he’ll also be joining members of the congregation and other rabbis in the Triangle who plan to spend four days on the ground volunteering, donating blood, visiting soldiers and supporting families in areas hit the hardest.
“What I’ve learned in 25 years about being a rabbi is that the most important part when people are suffering is that you have to go to them. You have to be with them, you have to hold their hand, you have to hug them, you have to see their tears and see their pain,” said Rabbi Solomon. He added, “The worst experience is when you feel like you’re abandoned or alone, especially in your time of ultimate crisis.”
Rabbi Solomon said the mission will allow him and others to provide aid, witness the harsh reality overseas, and show families there’s solidarity and support. Through it all, he said many in the Jewish community continue to stay strong and resilient.