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Gathering Unites MIT Jewish Community in Time of Crisis

By Dana Levine


Nearly 100 members of the MIT Jewish community met last night in the chapel to pray for unity during the current crisis in the Middle East.

Robert B. Lillianfeld ’03, one of the event’s organizers, said that MIT’s many Jewish groups often conflict over current events in Israel. However, he said that last night’s gathering was intended “to be non-inflammatory” and aimed to foster solidarity among the diverse community of Jews at MIT.

“We don’t want the community to be split. We come together as Jews with the common denominator that people are dying, and that’s bad,” he said.

Lillianfeld said that the attendees represented all sections of the Jewish community, ranging from the extremely religious to those who rarely observe Jewish customs.

MIT Hillel Treasurer Bette M. Weinberg ’02 believes that this diversity made the event successful. “There were some people here who I hadn’t seen in a while,” she said.

During the ceremony, several people led songs, recited poems, and spoke of their hopes for the Middle East peace process.

“First, we’re here as human beings. We’re reacting to something which is painful. However, we’re also here as a community,” said Milan A. de Vries G.

Rebecca Reich G said that the event reminded her of the strength of the community. “It makes you feel that no matter how frustrated you are, you still have a community to rely on,” she said.

Hillel Vice President Anna M. Leos-Urbel ’02 talked about how strong feelings can separate a group of people. “A lot of us are scared, angry, confused, disappointed. These feelings can easily polarize the community,” she said.

“I think it’s great that people think that this kind of thing makes a difference,” said Jonathan I. Reznik ’04. Reznik believes that this sort of event will help to ease distraught communities of Jews in the U.S.

Ron O. Dror G said that this event, while positive, “is not good enough. This kind of thing will have to happen in Israel,” he said.