A legion of sorrowful New Yorkers gathered outside of Congressmember Dan Goldman’s Lower Manhattan office on Tuesday morning for a makeshift memorial to demand that the lawmaker support a permanent ceasefire ending the deadly conflict between Israel and Gaza.
Organized by Jewish-led group IfNotNow, attendees erected a makeshift altar on the sidewalk outside of 290 Broadway on Nov. 28. Lined with the faces of the dead, including children, onlookers wept as mourners placed stuffed animals, flowers, and candles upon the table.
Although they called upon Goldman to take action regarding the ongoing bloodshed in Gaza, speakers did not mince words when it came to the atrocities which the terrorist group Hamas committed in Israel on Oct. 7, which sparked the war in Gaza.
“What happened on Oct. 7 with the massacre by Hamas is unforgivable, it was a horrible orgy of violence,” Rabbi Barat Ellman said. “But we cannot follow that with more violence. It’s not about who is good and who is bad, everyone has gotten to the lowest common denominator here, Hamas and Israel. But it is time to end this.”
Other peace-seeking religious leaders, such as Rev. Amanda Hambrick of Middle Church, pleaded with Goldman to use his voice to take action.
“Right now, as we are standing here. Children are starving. They are starving. We do not have to continue. There is a different way,” Hambrick said.
A temporary ceasefire that began last week to allow for the release of Israeli hostages continued to hold through Tuesday morning, and many demonstrators said they hoped it would be extended indefinitely.
Genna Goldsobel of IfNotNow told amNewYork Metro that they are seeking Goldman to stand by his fellow Jewish community and call for a permanent ceasefire in hopes of treating further casualties. She noted that Goldman has a unique understanding of the situation, given that he and his family were in Israel when the Oct. 7 attacks occurred.
“[Goldman] had his family, I can’t imagine how scary that must have been for him, his family, and I’m really glad — we’re all really glad — that he’s okay,” Goldsobel said. “By being there he understands better than most other people the exact violence that is happening.
During the demonstration, participants sang and read aloud the names of those who have perished in the ongoing conflict as people of all ages and faiths lined up to pay their respects.
In response to the rally, Goldman’s office said he would continue to listen to constituents, but stopped short of committing to calls for a permanent ceasefire.
“Congressman Goldman welcomes and appreciates the opinion of every one of his constituents and will continue to listen and engage thoughtfully with those from all vantage points of this terrible situation in Gaza,” according to a statement from Goldman’s office. Everyone has a right to peacefully protest and make their voice heard, and we appreciate that today’s gathering did not include intimidation or the destruction of property. We are grateful to the NYPD and federal law enforcement for keeping everyone safe and ensuring that the Executive Office for Immigration Review was able to continue adjudicating and processing migrant asylum claims in our office building, which our city desperately needs in this moment.”