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Noem, Thune expected at Sunday prayer vigil for Israel
Rabbi says support for Jewish state is strong in South Dakota despite small population
Community leaders, area clergy and the Jewish community will gather in support of Israel in Sioux Falls this weekend alongside South Dakota’s top public officials.
South Dakotans for Israel, Calvary Chapel Sioux Falls and Congregation Beth Shalom will hold a prayer vigil in the wake of terrorist attacks on the Jewish state of Israel in recent days.
“The vigil on Sunday is an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and the Jewish community as we face the worst massacres and brutality since the Holocaust,” Rabbi Mendel Alperowitz of the Chabad Jewish Center of South Dakota told The Dakota Scout Thursday morning.
The hour-long vigil will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday in Sioux Falls at the El Riad Shrine downtown.
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The event is expected to be attended by a handful of community and state dignitaries and elected officials, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Sen. John Thune, who is among the highest ranking Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Former South Dakota Republican Party chairmen Dan Lederman and Joel Rosenthal, both Jewish, and Rep. Fred Deutsch, raised Jewish before converting to Catholicism in his 20s, will also be on hand for the event.
At least 1,200 people have reportedly died and 2,900 others injured in Israel — including Americans — since Saturday’s attacks after a radical Islamic terrorist organization known as Hamas attacked Israel in an act of war. Israel has since been bombing Gaza where Hamas is based in response.
Deutsch, a longtime lawmaker from the Watertown area, has also begun working legislative staff to draft a resolution in support of Israel and in condemnation of Hamas. And Johnson, who’s tied up with the ongoing gridlock in Washington D.C. over the House speaker seat, cosponsored a Congressional resolution that does the same.
While South Dakota’s Jewish population is small — about 250 members of the religion report residing in South Dakota — Alperowitz said the outpouring of a support here has been overwhelming. “Over the last few days so many from the broader community have called me, emailed me and simply walked over to me expressing their sympathy, prayers and outrage. The words ‘never again’ seem truer than ever,” he said. “As an American Jew living in South Dakota, I am deeply grateful appreciative of our elected leaders for their swift and strong condemnation of Hamas atrocities, and their unwavering and stalwart support of Israel and the Jewish people during this most difficult time.”