Two men stand side by side on the grass, with students in the background.
Matt Baram, (far left) executive director of Hillel 818, addresses those gathered in the Sierra Quad, Oct. 11, 2023 as Rabbi Chaim Brook (center) from CSUN Chabad and students listen. Photo by Sonia Gurrola.

Students, faculty and staff members gathered under the trees in the Sierra Quad for the “Stand with Israel” event on Oct. 11, 2023. It was a show of support for Israel, Israeli citizens and each other following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants at multiple sites in Israel. In the initial attack, more than 1,200 people in Israel were killed — among them women and children. More than 150 people, including Americans, were taken hostage. At publication time, Israeli officials reported more than 1,400 people had died and 3,400 were injured. In Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported more than 2,700 deaths and 9,700 injured following strikes from Israeli forces.

Matt Baram, the executive director of Hillel 818, addressed the crowd that grew to around 100 people during the lunchtime gathering. “It has been an unimaginable, difficult, horrible few days,” Baram said. “We’re all in mourning, we’re all in shock.”

Students stood with their arms around each other, some wiping away tears, as group leaders led prayers and songs, including Israel’s national anthem. Hatikvah.

Baram told those gathered that hard times are ahead, and urged people to reach out for support if they should need it.

“There will be more Israelis who lose their lives and there will be more innocent civilians and children in Gaza who lose their lives,” he said.

The gathering was organized by Hillel 818, Chabad CSUN, as well as Students Supporting Israel,the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi sorority and the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. See more from the event in photos.

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