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Jews Across U.S. Hold Hanukkah Rallies for Ceasefire

An oversized menorah with the word "ceasefire" written on it.

Last night, Jews all over the world lit candles for the first night of Hanukkah. In the U.S., hundreds of Jews took their menorahs to the streets, gathering at public ceremonies to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

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The ceremonies, which took place in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco, were organized by the Jewish organizations IfNotNow, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Rabbis4Ceasefire. These organizations have been mobilizing Jews in the U.S. to push for a peaceful resolution to the war between Israel and the militant group Hamas.

“This Chanukah, we come together to create light; to say that every life is sacred,” IfNotNow wrote in a statement on Instagram. “To remain grounded in humanity, even in the face of all the violence and despair. To fight for a future of freedom and safety for all people; for Palestinians and Israelis. We need a ceasefire now, an end to the siege on Gaza, freedom for all being held captive, and a rededication to equality, justice, and lasting peace for everyone.”

“Together we are mourn[ing] the thousands of Palestinians and Israelis who have been killed and raise our voices in prayer to demand for an immediate CEASEFIRE,” Rabbis4Ceasefire wrote on Instagram. ​​We offer blessings and songs to honor our collective ancestors and fight for a better future for all of our children. May we find our way to hope through action together.”

To date, Israeli forces have killed over 15,000 Palestinians, including over 6,000 children. 1.8 million Gazans, most of Gaza’s total population, have been displaced by the attacks, and because Israel has blocked access to sufficient humanitarian aid, they are in danger of disease and starvation. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called the situation an “epic humanitarian catastrophe,” while Israeli officials have used genocidal terms like “human animals” to justify the bombing of hospitals and refugee camps.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched the attack on Gaza after Hamas militants killed 1,200 Israelis, most of them civilians, and took approximately 240 hostage on October 7. However, relatives of victims and hostages have spoken out against Israel’s response, telling Netanyahu that “you can’t cure dead babies with more dead babies.”

(featured image: John Lamparski/Getty Images)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>

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