Bay Area mourns murdered teens

Unlike other U.S. metropolitan areas, the Bay Area did not host an official regional memorial for three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and murdered, but local synagogues and Hillels did offer memorials and reflective moments during Shabbat services.

At a July 3 memorial at Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto, 70 people turned out to light candles, pray and remember the slain teens. “People wanted to talk and be together,” said Ellen Bob, the synagogue’s executive director. “We tried very hard to make it apolitical and focus on mourning and peace.”

A similar memorial was held on July 4 at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, two days after news broke about a Palestinian teen being killed by Israeli suspects. “We acknowledged the [three Israeli] teenagers [who were killed], but there was space for acknowledging all innocent life that was taken,” Rabbi Carla Fenves said. “We can’t just grieve the loss of our own children; we need to grieve the loss of all children.”

While Jewish federations organized community gatherings in many U.S. cities, leaders in the Bay Area decided that “the proper place for the memorial services is in our synagogues,” Rabbi Marvin Goodman, executive director of the Board of Rabbis of Northern California, wrote in an email.

On June 26, the Bay Area Jewish community did come together at Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco for an evening of solidarity when the three kidnapped Israeli teens were still missing.  — dan pine & abra cohen