SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Halfway across the globe from Israel, a Jewish Community Center in Upstate New York is doing everything they can to help.
The JCC In DeWitt, having over one hundred mini Israeli flags being planted around the building, has been taking donations from the greater community. Executive Director Marci Erlebacher appreciates the community coming together, but is heartbroken.
“The flags we have represent all of our people on the other side,” Erlebacher said. “All the clothes around the building are wonderful and it warms my heart, but there’s a lot more warming to do.”
Around the building are multiple boxes dedicated for spare clothing and food to be sent out to those suffering in Israel. Inside the facility there are more options to donate money to fundraisers, or directly to the JCC. With how quickly the war came upon us, Erlebacher can’t believe this is all unfolding in front of her eyes.
“I knew about it from hearing and having family that came out of the Holocaust,” Erlebacher said. “But to see it happen now, in this day and age, is surreal.”
On top of that, the JCC has held multiple rallies and marches where hundreds of county residents went to show support. Erlebacher stresses that everyone is welcome at the community center.
“Our doors are open to the greater community, you don’t have to belong to us to come to events like this,” Erlebacher said. “We have to be the nucleus, we represent all walks of Judaism: unaffiliated, conservative, reformed, orthadox, etc.”
The war in Israel has impacted Jewish people and those who have Jewish friends greatly. Protests have been held all across Onondaga County, and another one is scheduled to be held at the JCC on Oct. 14 at noon. Local Rabbi Ethan Bair is one that will be in attendance.
“It would be a big, big moment if lots of people could make it out,” Bair said. “I believe it will be in front of the JCC, and we already are expecting a big outcome.”
Psalms will be read at the JCC every night through November at seven o’clock. As people everywhere continue to pray for a ceasefire and for the lives of innocent Jewish and Palestinian people, Bair credits the JCC for what they have done and hopes more events come out of this.
“I hope and pray there will be inner faith and other multicultural events in the coming weeks as well for people to show solidarity.”