Religious leaders and local elected officials led about 150 residents in a vigil at the Riverdale Monument this morning to show solidarity with Paris after terrorists there killed at least 129 people and wounded many others on Friday.
Rabbis from the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (HIR), which organized the event, gave speeches and led sign-carrying attendees in singing the U.S., French and Israeli national anthems while cars circled the monument, some of them honking in support.
“We are here because if there is one human being in the world who was injured, who was wounded, who was murdered, because of who he or she is and nothing more, then we have all been wounded. We have all been injured. We have all been murdered,” said Rabbi Avi Weiss, the longtime leader of HIR. “We stand with Paris.”
He went on to lead attendees in chanting “We are with you.”
Two Riverdale residents originally from France also addressed the group standing beneath the tall monument, located at the intersection of Riverdale Avenue and West 239th Street.
“This disaster which occurred in my country is a mini 9/11,” said Stephanie Zvi, who comes from Lyon.
Another speaker said a friend of his nephew’s was killed in a restaurant during Friday’s attacks, in which assailants targeted a soccer stadium, restaurants and a concert hall.
“It’s very sad. I’m scared — it’s kind of history coming back,” said Cyril Benichou. “Maybe right-wing groups and political parties will take advantage of this situation and we may have a new Hitler coming in Europe.”
“We are all with you here in New York,” he went on to say in French, addressing people in Paris. “We support your efforts and we are wholeheartedly with you.”
Rep. Eliot Engel, whose district includes Riverdale, drew connections between the attacks in Paris and terrorism in Israel and other parts of the world.
Watch a video clip of the event at this link.
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