Birmingham lawyer’s family near Gaza unaccounted for as Jewish community rallies behind Israel

As Steven Brickman addressed a gathering of Birmingham’s Jewish community on Tuesday night, he did not know the fate of two family members in Israel near the border with Gaza.

Brickman said his relatives, who live in a kibbutz, have not been heard from since the weekend, when Hamas militants launched a surprise attack against Israel, killing more than 1,000 people and taking dozens of civilian hostages, including Americans.

Brickman, a former president of the Birmingham Jewish Federation, which hosted Tuesday night’s event at the Levite Jewish Community Center, said the weekend attack was “reminiscent of the horrors deep in our Jewish souls,” referring to the pogroms of Russia and Eastern Europe and the Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.

“We as Jews and Christians who love Israel understand this weekend was the worst day in the history of the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” he said. “We’re in pain, we’re angry and feeling a sense of incomprehension at the magnitude of these barbaric acts.”

Without naming anyone specifically, Brickman said he was appalled that some in Birmingham and around the country “would seek to condone and justify and even celebrate this violence and terrorism,” which he pointed out reportedly included the beheadings of Israeli babies.

“This is disgusting and hurtful and anyone who engages in this behavior is not our friend or ally,” he said. “Indiscriminately murdering, abducting and raping civilians is pure and evil terrorism and not resistance.”

Danny Cohn, CEO of the Birmingham Jewish Federation, said the attack “has shaken us all.” But he said it also strengthened the Jewish community in Birmingham and beyond.

“Today’s sentiments reverberate through the streets of Birmingham and indeed the world,” Cohn siad. “We are here for Israel .. for our brothers and sisters that face terrorism and fear, reminding them

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