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Omaha faith leaders are trying to bring awareness to the lives lost in Israel

Temple Israel, which is a part of the Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha held special prayers over the weekend
Posted at 6:19 PM, Oct 09, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Senior Rabbi Benjamin Sharff led weekend services with a prayer for the people who have been affected in Israel.

"What happened was this was (a) devastating attack during the most holy and sacred times for our people," Sharff said.

He says the temple will honor those who passed through a service of memory during the coming Jewish holidays.

"It's going to impact the nature of our worship services, which tend to be more uplifting and celebratory," he said. "But, we also have to acknowledge where everyone is, at the moment. So it's probably going to be more somber, there will be more reflective readings."

Sharon Brodkey, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Omaha said antisemitism has been on the rise for years. She said the latest conflict only makes things worse.

"This certainly may give people a platform and a reason to turn up the volume and the heat on that," she said.

The Jewish Federation of Omaha recommends addressing specific issues in a conversation rather than arguing. As well as seeking out reliable information.

"We need people to be vigilant and aware of any kind of antisemitic remarks," she said.

While staying aware, most importantly, Sharff said to not blame or take violence out on anyone.

"Don't take out any anger, towards especially Muslims in the community because they're our partners and our friends. They're as aggrieved and hurting as much as we are," Sharff said.

For now, Sharff is still thinking about the next steps on how to best help his community.

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