Alpha Epsilon Pi said prayers and hosted a walk of solidarity around Elon University’s campus for the state of Israel on Oct. 16.
The fraternity, joined by university community members, prayed for peace and walked around campus to make a stand against terror and violence, according to sophomore and AEPi member Benji Stern.
“We’re here to condemn terrorism,” Stern said.
The walk comes a little over a week after Hamas, a militant group, attacked the Israeli southern border on the night of Oct. 7.
As of Oct. 16, 2,670 Palestinians have died and over 1,400 Israelis have died, according to the Associated Press.
Stern said he is concerned about his friends in Israel who are serving in the military.
“I think about my friends every day,” Stern said. “This is war and anything could happen.”
He said he was pleased with the number of people who came to the walk today — around 50.
“I’m feeling overwhelmed by the support that we got today,” Stern said. “This is something that affects all of us.”
Elon Hillel and Chabad hosted other events last week to support the university’s Jewish community.
Sidra Kennedy, a senior and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion co-chair of Elon Hillel, attended the walk and said she wanted to show her support for her Jewish community at the university.
“I’m used to being in the very severe minority,” Kennedy said. “Elon is one of the places in my life that I feel the most Jewish.”
Kennedy also said it was important for her to speak up.
“I have seen how my voice has gotten washed away when I don’t speak up,” Kennedy said. “It’s important to bond with other people who are going through a similar tragedy and feeling this very large effect.”
She said attention needs to remain on the war.
“It really is affecting us on campus as students and this hasn’t gone away,” Kennedy said. “It’s been a week and more people are dying and so it’s even more important to keep talking about it rather than becoming desensitized.”
Kennedy also said she is empathetic to both sides of the conflict, especially because she has friends in both Israel and Gaza.
“I always want to be very aware of how situations are impacting everyone,” Kennedy said. “I’m seeing a lot of people who I know and love directly involved in the conflict.”
Boaz Avraham-Katz, an Elon Hillel Jewish educator, said he is happy to see support from the Elon community.
“It’s good to see that people care,” Avraham-Katz said. “Israelis a lot talk about hugging, ‘We’re hugging our soldiers, we’re hugging here.’ What happened today was a hug.”
He said it is important to be cognizant of both sides of the situation and said the war is not against Palestinians, but against Hamas.
“I’m interested in the welfare of everybody,” Avraham-Katz said. “Our prayer that we said today was a prayer that was directed to both.”
He also said it is necessary to be educated about the situation.
“Educate yourself,” Avraham-Katz said. “There’s so much media coverage and chatter on social networks and everybody says things. Go learn about it.”
Stern said he feels supported by the Elon community.
“When there’s a threat to one Jewish person, there’s a threat to every Jewish person,” Stern said. “We’re going to stick together.”
He said he is hoping for an end to the conflict.
“We pray for peace,” Stern said. “We pray for an end to the violence and mourn the loss of life on all sides of this issue.”