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U.S. Jewish communities memorializing Israeli teens

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Jewish communities across the United States have responded to the murder of three Israeli teens with vigils and memorial services.

The announcement that Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach had been found dead Monday of gunshot wounds in a field near Hebron prompted a memorial service that evening outside Cleveland that drew a reported overflow crowd of 750, according to the Cleveland Jewish News. The event was organized by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.

In New York City, several hundred people gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate and walked to the Isaiah Wall across from the United Nations complex.

“Our hearts are broken. Our hearts are shattered. And all of the United Nations must speak out,” Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale told the crowd, according to Reuters. “The murder of a person is the murder of a person. But the murder of a child is the murder of the world.”

In Los Angeles, “dozens” of people had gathered in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Pico-Robertson, where they sang, hugged and held Israeli flags, NBC4 television reported.

A number of Jewish communities are holding memorials to honor the teens, who had been missing since June 12.

The federations of Philadelphia, Hartford, Portland and Los Angeles are holding memorials on Tuesday evening, while Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and San Antonio have scheduled memorials for Wednesday.

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