Montreal Jews Pack Synagogue, Pray for Israel, Pledge Support

About 1,000 people packed the Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation here Tuesday night to pray for Israel and hear community leaders vow Canadian Jewish support for that nation.

The gathering was an emotional outpouring of solidarity for Israel, one of many that took place at locations all over Canada as the U.N.-imposed deadline approached for the use of force to get Iraq out of Kuwait.

At Beth Israel Beth Aaron, an Orthodox congregation, Rabbi Reuben Poupko maintained that it was impossible to separate the security of Israel from that of Jews the world over.

“We have come here to eloquently say that our security is indivisible,” the rabbi declared.

With a catch in his voice, he disclosed that he has nine nephews in Jerusalem who had been “outfitted with gas masks” because of Saddam Hussein’s threat to devastate Israel with chemical weapons.

Poupko, who chairs the Canadian Jewish Congress’ Israel Action Committee, urged Jews to go to Israel to show support.

About 200 Jewish leaders held an Israel solidarity meeting Wednesday at the offices of the Montreal Jewish Federation-Allied Jewish Community Services. Up to 600 were expected at a similar meeting in Toronto.

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