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Rally to support Israel held outside Utah State Capitol

Posted at 9:45 PM, Oct 29, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — As the war between Israel and Hamas persists, Utah’s Jewish and Israeli communities continue to gather to raise awareness and lean on each other during this time.

On Sunday afternoon, members and supporters of the United Jewish Federation of Utah dropped off pairs of shoes at the base of the capitol building steps.

Each pair of shoes was assigned to a poster of a person abducted from Israel on Oct. 7.

“We wanted to show a little something to really connect it to the human person that is still sadly kept in Gaza,” said Sean Chady.

The crowd draped themselves in Israeli flags and gathered on the capitol building steps to sing songs.

“Sadly we all have a story,” said Chady. “A connection.”

Chady’s connection is his wife, who’s had multiple members of her family murdered, including her 17-year-old cousin.

“He was taken. Almost his entire family was taken. Sadly, it was also captured on Facebook Live,” he said.

Stories like that are one of the reasons why Maya Skurnik’s reserve unit is being called to serve for the Israeli Defense Forces.

“The things that we have heard that we are still hearing are just unimaginable,” she said.

The first week of November would’ve been her one-year mark since moving to Utah. She’ll miss that anniversary as she leaves Monday morning.

Skurnik said she’s scared, but the cards she’s received from kids and the community’s encouragement on Sunday gave her the send-off she needed.

“It’s just making me look forward even more to coming back,” she said.