Candle Light Memorial Service for Israel at De La Guerra Plaza

Jewish community of Santa Barbara Holds Candlelight Vigil for Israel (Photo by Amy Katz)

Candle Light Vigil for Israel in Santa Barbara: Prayers for all

Hundreds of heartbroken Jews from various denominations in Santa Barbara — Reform, Conservative and Orthodox — were unified in their love and grief for Israel during a Candlelight Memorial on Sunday, October 15, at 6:00 pm in Santa Barbara’s, historic downtown De La Guerra Plaza.

Cantor Mark Childs of Congregation B’nai B’rith and Rabbi Arthur Gross-Shafer of Community Shul offers words of condolence and prayerful-songs. (Photo: Amy Katz)

The public vigil/rally was hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, and was well attended by Rabbis, staff and congregants from Community Shul, Chabad, Congregation B’nai B’rith (CBB) Hillel, as well as allies such as Priests from the Catholic Church, and others.

Rabbis leading the vigil invited families from Israel who have been living in Santa Barbara to lead the community in lighting fire-safe candles.

Cantor Mark Childs of CBB led the participants in songful-prayers for the over 1,200 Israelis killed and more than 2,700 injured and kidnapped in attacks by Hamas terrorists that happened last Saturday in Israel.

Rabbi Belle Michael, who immigrated to the USA from Israel, reads a heart-felt speech before the candles are lit. (Photo: Amy Katz)

Rabbi Belle Michael made suggestions for how to take action to improve the situation. Rabbi Arthur Gross-Shafer of Community Shul, whose two sons had served and been injured in the Israeli Army, reminded us that it is our duty to go on with life and find happiness in weddings and other joyful ceremonies, even in the face of such terrible tragedy.

Rabbi Daniel Brenner of CBB read beautiful prayers in Hebrew and English asking God to safely return the hostages to their families, and to protect those who will try to rescue them.

Mournful Prayers were chanted for all those sadly impacted by the attack by Hamas, including Jews and Palestinians.

Photo by Amy Katz
Photo by Amy Katz
Two boys from Santa Barbara Chabad — an Orthodox synagogue— wrap Tefillin on the arm of a more liberal Jew as they wait for the candle light vigil to begin. The little black boxes with leather straps contain scrolls of parchment inscribed with prayers from the Torah, and men wrapping them on their arms is traditionally considered a blessing. (Photo by Amy Katz)

Photos and article by Amy Katz © 


Written by Amy Katz

Amy Katz is a edhat contributor and photojournalist. All of her photos are available for commercial licensing via Zuma Press or by contacting Amy directly at

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    • Yes, it’s really a difficult situation. Israel has every right to search out and destroy the terrorists who so brutally attacked them. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is by attacking Gaza, where they are hiding. Sadly, the bombing seems to be indiscriminate and excessive at this point. They can’t just completely destroy Gaza in this effort to root out Hamas. Millions of innocent people live there. Thousands are being killed, including over 1000 children this week. Hospitals and schools are being bombed and now the cities in the south where the innocents were warned to flee to are being bombed. The bombing and siege of Gaza needs to stop so the innocent Palestinians can seek help and refuge. No where in Gaza is safe under this current operation. Just because a terrorist is hiding in a building full of civilians doesn’t mean you can bomb the whole building. Israel has some of the most advanced military and intelligence capabilities in the world. Time to use them to save lives.

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