Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre joined his prayers with those of the Jewish community and hundreds of its supporters at the Trager Family Jewish Community Center during the “Louisville Stands with Israel” solidarity gathering Oct. 10.
The gathering was planned following deadly attacks on Israel by the Hamas militant group Oct. 7 — the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, which marks the completion of the annual cycle of reading the Torah scroll.
At least 1,200 individuals were killed and 2,800 injured in the attack, according to OSV News. In the days since, Israel declared war on Hamas and casualties continue to rise among Israelis and Palestinians.
When the conflict erupted, pilgrims from around the world scrambled to leave. According to officials of the Archdiocese of Louisville, three tour groups that included lay people and clergy from the Archdiocese of Louisville were among those pilgrims. The groups were reportedly unharmed and able to depart Oct. 9.
During the gathering Oct. 10, Archbishop Fabre assured the local Jewish community of his prayers and his support.
“How sad a reality that suffering has again been visited upon so many innocent people and families,” the archbishop said. “I’ve asked our merciful Lord to grant to you, especially to all families who lost loved ones, hope and consolation during this difficult time.”
Senseless violence and terrorism don’t solve problems, he said. They “only serve to deepen wounds, harden hearts and to lead to more violence.”
The archbishop said the local gathering had a “powerful effect.”
“It serves as a clarion call to compel each and every one of us to become more animated by the inherent desire to serve our community by being artisans of life, of charity and of peace,” he said.
He urged those who gathered to pray for ways to counter hatred, violence and terrorism.
Mayor Craig Greenberg and several members of the Jewish community offered remarks and prayers during the event.
Mayor Greenberg said that he was speaking as a Jewish American and called on his listeners to “speak out against terrorism everywhere” and to “call out anti-semitism” wherever it occurs. The mayor said he was calling on “friends from around the world of all faiths to support Israel.”
He said the city is showing its solidarity with Israel by lighting up the Big Four Bridge and Metro Hall in blue and white.
Gov. Andy Beshear sent a letter to the gathering, read by Mayor Greenberg, assuring the Jewish community of his prayers and support. A day earlier, the governor had ordered all state office buildings to lower their flags to half-staff from sunrise Oct. 10 to sunset Oct. 13.To learn ways to support the Jewish community, visit jewishlouisville.org/actnowforisrael.